Tiny House Tiny Footprint 2 Years Later

When I first started my interview series 2 years ago, my friends Kathleen and Greg were my first subjects. And I thought it was about time for an update from them.

Book3.jpg

What has changed since you first started living small? 

So much has changed in the last year for us! About a year ago we bought a house on some land so that we could move our camper to a new location. We now rent out our house on Airbnb and live in the camper in the backyard. This allows us to pay our mortgage while also living small whenever we’d like. I quit my office job a few months ago to freelance full time.

This was a difficult decision for me because I was used to a stable paycheck and a job close to our tiny home, but I wanted to spend more time telling the stories of tiny dwellers and promoting a lifestyle outdoors, closer to nature. To go along with those things, I hosted my first van gathering in late August in Colorado! More than 60 people came and brought their adventure mobiles. People shared their talents by playing music around the campfire, leading yoga sessions, preparing food and showing people their rigs. It was a wonderful weekend and I left inspired, feeling confident that this was a wonderful group of people that I wanted to spend more time with.

Book1.jpg

How has freelancing full time working out for you? 

No one can prepare you to freelance full time no matter how hard they might try. I tell people that I’m working much more now that I’m freelancing, but I’m also doing what I want to do. I have time to make breakfast (something I never did before) and sleep in a little later, but in turn, I might be working later into the night and often on weekends. When you start freelancing, you have to work harder to make connections and find clients that you want to work with. After a while (or so people say), it gets easy and you have more stable work to rely on. Fingers crossed!

book1-cover.jpg

I heard you wrote a book, tell us more about it!

It’s been a childhood dream to write a book and I finally did! I had the idea about a year ago + started brainstorming what kind of book I wanted to write and who my audience would be. I decided that I wanted to write something that could be read by adults as well as children. I wanted to inspire those who were thinking about living small to read about my experiences (not all of which were easy + wonderful as Instagram may make it seem). And I wanted a child to pick it up and learn that they don’t need to grow up and buy the big house. They can easily be happy with less + a life of freedom and adventure.

Book2.jpg

How has living tiny changed you?

I have learned (and am still learning) that life is not about following what others do or what society thinks you should do. Life is about doing things for yourself + having deep conversations with yourself about what feels right + what makes you happy. How we are brought up greatly influences who we turn out to be + our thought process. But it’s okay to live differently thank your family or your friends. It’s okay to choose your own path. People may judge you or question your motives, but staying true to yourself is all that matters.
Book4.jpg
What are the best and worst parts of living tiny?

This answer definitely changes depending on the season 🙂

Living small gives you a freedom that is hard to describe. Knowing you don’t need as much allows you to focus on what’s truly important. When you don’t have as many things keeping you inside, you end up spending more time outdoors. Living small is a lot like camping. You can hear and see things much clearer because your windows are bigger and your walls are smaller.
In the winter, I miss having a hot shower whenever I need it. We don’t use our shower in the camper in the wintertime because our hose isn’t properly insulated. So instead, we shower at the gym. It’s not a huge inconvenience and you get used to it, but it’s something you can easily take for granted.
Book10.jpg


What are people’s main misconceptions about living small?

I’ve noticed there are a few misconceptions about living this way. A lot of people think it’s a dreamy experience because they see the photos of feet dangling out the back of a van or going on amazing adventures. And while a lot of that is true, living small is certainly not easy. Finding a place to park for free can be hard when you don’t know where you’re going. Doing laundry or washing dishes becomes a whole different experience. There’s also not a lot of space to spread out and do things like yoga or have people over for dinner. But the trade off is that you learn to be creative and find solutions to these challenges, which make them more fun in the end.

Book8.jpg

Have you made any updates to the camper?

We have upgraded a few of our items. We got a nicer coffee maker and a warmer blanket for our bed. But mostly, we haven’t done too much to it. We like that it’s minimalist and we don’t want to spend too much money on it because we like to spend our money on experiences.

Book9.jpg
Anything else you’d like to share?

I’d love if you went and checked out our Kickstarter! Even if you can’t help fund the project, please share it with your friends or others on your blog. I realize not all of you may live small, but his book helps spread the message about tiny living and helps support this amazing community of people. It will help walk you through my thought process from going from a big space to a tiny one as well as how my perspective shifted from spending time inside to more time outdoors.

I am so incredibly proud of my friends and all that they are doing to bring more awareness to living small. It is possible! And I love her honesty about what it is really like. Check out their blog, and Instagram to follow their inspirational journey.

Fall Flowers

Recently one of my best friends got engaged (Vi, if you didn’t see her post here)and I wanted to start looking around for gift ideas to send her. I sent her a care package and also wanted to look at sending flowers. I was browsing through BloomNation and it inspired this post for me to share some of my favorites I found.

The flower bouquets they have at Pike’s Place Market in Seattle are always so pretty and fun to look at. I love tulips! tulips

I’m also a fan of a lot of colors mixed together. I love pinks and purples especially.

pink flowersAnd with the holidays coming up I thought succulents would be a perfect centerpiece for the dinner table. And we’ve talked about how succulents are, (at the moment) the only things I can keep alive. 🙂

succulents

Lastly how cute are these mini pumpkins?! These are so perfect for fall. pumpkins

We all know around here how much I love watching the Bachelor, but I am not a fan of roses. There are so many other pretty flowers out there. I think my favorites are succulents and tulips. What are your favorite flowers?

Book Club Suggestions

A few girlfriends and I are thinking about starting a book club after the holiday season. Because let’s face it, things are going to get busy here really quickly.

I’d love to hear what you girls do for book club. This will be my first book club I’ve ever been a part of. (Hard to believe since I love to read so much, but with moving the last few years it’s been hard to join one.)

Currently I’m reading a few books. I’m still finishing The Lost Girls (I got really far into it then we moved, and I am not picking it back up) Giliuana Rancic’s Going Off Script, The Kennedy Wives by Amber Hunt and David Batcher, and Molly Sims’ Everyday SuperModel.

lost girls

going off script

kennedy wives

molly sims

What books recently have you girls been reading that I should suggest to our book club?

How often do you girls meet up?

How do you pick the books you read?

How do you decide on a genre to read?

 

Kathleen’s Guest Post!

Kathleen is one of my good friends from high school. She and I have kept in touch even though we no longer live in the same state. She currently lives in Colorado and I now live in Washington state. We played tennis together in high school and she’s been such a great friend ever since. We’ve traveled all over the US together and have visited each other in Colorado and California. Maybe someday she will move to Seattle 😉

She was my first interview on the blog that you can check out here. I’m so happy she’s guest blogging today. You can learn more about her tiny living journey which is so inspiring!

memort

Julie and I go way back to high school. Back then, we’d exchange notes in our classes, which is a little like blogging, right?

Moving to Colorado

Julie and I grew up in neighboring hometowns. We both stayed in the Midwest for college, but after we graduated, I ended up moving from Chicago out west to Colorado. I packed everything that would fit in my Toyota Camry and drove by myself the 16 hours to the state with 300 days of sunshine.

I remember when I reached the Colorado border, I let out a little yelp (which was quite weird honestly, because no one was in the car with me). All of my daydreaming about living near the Rocky Mountains was finally coming to life.

3

Credit: BAMPhoto

Meeting Greg

After three years living in Colorado, I was feeling lonely after recent breakup from a long relationship. A friend joked about a dating app called Tinder. We played around with it one day, and I thought the whole thing was strange. How could I possibly find a date on this thing? Did people really take this seriously?

I was not at a point to take anything seriously, so I decided to have some fun with it, so I messaged some guys and scheduled some dates on the app.

Greg was my first Tinder date and he stuck. At dinner during our first date, I listened wide-eyed to ideas he had about permaculture and local foods. He had stories of backpacking in New Zealand and living out of a van.

greg

We moved into my 1,000-square-foot apartment with my roommate, Stacey, after a few months of dating. When our lease ran out, Greg and I began to talk about what our next living options were.

tiny

Living Tiny

It seemed like everyone was telling us we should get an apartment or house in the city, but that’s exactly what Greg and I didn’t want to do. Every place we looked was expensive and lacked the backyard and garden we dreamed about.

guitar

Credit: BAMPhoto

Greg started bringing up living in a van during his travels but I wasn’t convinced. It was one thing to travel and live in a van, but how was I going to do that and go to work everyday?

In relationships, you have to compromise, and so, our compromise was buying a 1969 camper trailer (140 square feet).

camper

Credit: BAMPhoto

We found our tiny home on Craigslist and immediately started looking for places to park it. We ended up messaging a few people in the area we wanted to live and found a backyard in the foothills.

In the past year, we’ve lived with limited access to electricity and Wi-Fi, but do not connect to their hose for running water. Instead, we fill galloon jugs with water at our local grocery store.

roof

Credit: BAMPhoto

Our dog, Blaize, loves running around in her big backyard.

blaize

What I’ve Learned

Living small has taught me how to adapt to hardships. I know I could be self-sufficient living off the grid if I needed to be and that is a freeing feeling.

mapMy bags are always packed for adventures, and I take them as often as I can.

 

backpackI’m not the only one who has chosen this lifestyle. Others my age have also challenged themselves to live small or on the road. Every week, I feature a new tiny dweller on my blog. I would love for you to check it and leave comments.

run

Credit: BAMPhoto

Follow me on Instagram as well for photos of my camper trailer and lifestyle.

partyof3

Credit: BAMPhoto

I am so beyond happy and proud of Kathleen and Greg for embarking on such a great journey. We all could learn a thing or two from them! I know I definitely have a lot of stuff I don’t need but hold on to for sentimental reasons or others. But it’s so refreshing to see them living tiny and getting outdoors as much as possible. Thanks again Kathleen for sharing more of your story with us!

Jessica’s Guest Post!

I thought I’d have my sh*t together by now, but of course I do not. My place is still a mess. We don’t have internet in our house yet or any groceries still. #firstworldproblems
So I hope you’ll bear with me some more while we get organized and I will slow get back to blogging regularly and commenting. I’ve read and appreciate all of your comment and well wishes during our move!  Thanks girls! 🙂 For the next few days I have a few more guest bloggers.
I found Jessica’s blog through a link up month ago and we found out we were both from Chicago! She’s been a fun blogger friend to follow and chat with. She blogs over at Semi Sweet Tooth be sure to check her out and say hello!
untitled (11)
5 Tricks to Get Better Sleep
When I signed on to write a guest post on Say Yes to Happy due to the move to Sacramento, I instantly thought back to my cross-country move just a couple of days over a year ago.  And what I thought of was… stress.  And a personal issue for me is that when I’m stressed, I’m the type that loses sleep while thinking over a large multitude of situations.
In currently working what is essentially two full-time jobs (Project Management and Blogging, #obviously), having an hour+ commute each way for my 9-to-5, and planning a wedding (with the help of my fiancé), I’ve sporadically had sleeping issues across the year.  If you’re like me, trying to fit what is logically too much on your metaphorical plate, then here are my top 5 tricks for getting better sleep!
Deep, Controlled Breathing
Whenever my mind is racing, my first trick is to try to redirect my thoughts to my breathing.  Breathe in for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7, and slowly breathe out for a count of 8.  This pattern of breathing will leave you feeling relaxed and settled in for a night of great sleep.
Meditation
Settling your thoughts on a specific intention will allow you to kind of “zone out” on that area of focus.  I’d suggest a thought such as “hope” or “happiness” to leave you on the track for great dreams and a next day of positive thoughts.
Chamomile or “Sleepy Time” Tea
Sometimes I like to start my evenings with some relaxing chamomile tea.  This is potentially, completely a placebo, but I find the warmth to be incredibly soothing.  If you want to get fancy, rumor has it that adding a little lavender will add an extra kick of relaxation.
untitled (9)
Keep a Notepad Next to Your Bed
This habit is likely incredibly annoying to my wonderful fiancé, Raymond… wonderful because he deals with my crazy sleeping habits.  When my mind is racing, it’s typically because I’m thinking through a full list of things I have to do.  Keeping a notepad next to our bed allows me to write the full list of tasks running through my mind so that I can tackle them the next day.
Melatonin
When my sleeping issues become a persistent issue (typically the week before my cycle, TMI?), I am willing to take one natural, supplemental melatonin.  Your brain naturally produces melatonin as a way to regulate your sleep/wake cycle.  Natural melatonin supplements have been deemed safe for short-term use.  If you decide to take this route, always listen to the manufacturer’s instructions and stop use if you wake up exhausted the next day.  Aka, use with discretion and consider talking to your doctor before use.
untitled (13)
 
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
What tricks do you use when you’re having difficulty sleeping?  If you’ve tried any of the tricks above, let us know how they’ve worked for you!
Create a great day!
Thanks again so much for filling in for me Jessica! Lately I’ve been so exhausted from all the moving I’ve had no trouble falling asleep hah, but I would like to try to get into meditating.

Our Road Trip Recap

Here is a quick recap of our road trip with two of our best friends from Chicago. We were all over the map and had the best time.one

Our road trip started in Arizona, visiting our old roommate in Tucson on Thursday of last week. Then the next morning we picked up our friends Melissa and Nico at the Phoenix airport. Then we grocery shopped at Trader Joe’s and then hit the road for the Grand Canyon. We camped there overnight.

camping

grandcanyon

two

The next morning, we took off for a tour of Antelope Canyon.

antelopecanyon

three

We stopped at Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona after lunch.

horseshoebend

four

Then we drove to Zion National Park, and did our usual jumping pose. 😉

zion

five

We spent 2 days in Zion National Park. We went hiking and camping and my brother and his fiancé joined us too.

riverside

It was a dream road trip and I’ll fill you all in with more details asap! Happy weekend everyone!

As always I’m linking up with these lovelies:

Hill Collection and Running 4 Cupcakes

FridayFavorites3_zpsea6fc451p-txtvalentineohheyfriday_zps0d5af5821Friday+Favorites

Friday-Favorite-Link-Up-Botton-Life-In-Leggings

Ailee Guest Post!

Today’s guest blogger is one of my favorite bloggers out there. Ailee blogs at Snapshot and My Thoughts. She is a talented photographer and has the most beautiful photos and her family is picture perfect. Her toddler, Isla, is beyond precious. I am so honored that she is guest blogging for me today. She makes me realize I need to step up my photography and blogging game.

Blogging

Why I Love Blogging

by Ailee Petrovic of Snapshots & My Thoughts

My history with blogging dates back six years (oh my gosh, slow down time!), and there has been quite an evolution. To start, let me take you back to the very beginning.

History

  • May 2009: I started my first blog, Ailee Marie à Paris, to document my summer abroad working in Paris. I still read those posts from time to time! I definitely got bit by the blog bug that summer.
  • January 2010: I began writing Semplistic Thoughts (my maiden name was Semple) as a senior at The University of Texas at Austin. I thought it was a novel way to share thoughts and create a dialog on topics important to me (namely my faith).
  • January 2010: During my final semester at school, I had to write a blog as a requirement for a Media course I enrolled in. I called it Me, Myself & Media, and it mainly focused on advertising campaigns.
  • May 2010: On a trip to Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, I wrote a short travel blog – Down Under Diary to chronicle my activities.
  • May 2011: At my first job out of college, I was working with a large team of Management Consulting analysts (most of whom I still keep in touch with!), so we wrote a collaborative blog called Dino Debates to keep us entertained while living in Oklahoma City every Monday through Thursday. If I need a laugh, I revisit some of those posts.
  • August 2011: During a trip to the Philippines, I wrote a short blog – Musings in Manila. It was a life-changing trip, and I’m glad I have it well documented.
  • January 2012: My best friends, McKenzie, and I started a blog called Hello Houston, to share some of our favorite restaurants in the city. We sadly decided to make it private after we stopped writing it.
  • June 2012: Voilà – my eighth (and final for now!) blog, Snapshots & My Thoughts was born in 2012. It began as a space for me to document favorite styles and interior designs, then after we got engaged, it turned into a wedding-ish blog, and now, it definitely reflects our current stage of life: new parents.

JourneyToSnapshotsAndMyThoughts

People often ask how I got into blogging, and I like to think it was just inevitable from the advent of weblogs (do you even remember when they were called that?) that I would one day write one. I have always loved expressing myself through writing, and I enjoy photography, curating pretty graphics, sharing (and finding) design inspiration, etc. – all essentials in the world of blogging. It just kind of made sense to have my own (or multiples!).

Blogging is cathartic… inspiring… community-building… creative… capturing… and should be fun to write. I love writing posts and most especially hearing feedback (makes blogging feel less one-sided). I have met some of my closest friends through the blogging and creative circle (some ‘real life friends,’ others modern day pen pals). Finding like-minded individuals isn’t always easy, but you can definitely do it in the blog world!

As you can tell from my history, I absolutely love blogging. With this said, there are days when I feel uninspired and Snapshots & My Thoughts gets neglected. Lately, my calendar has been booked with photo shoots (I am a photographer too!), and coming up with creative content to share has been the last thing on my mind. I recently considered quitting altogether, but quickly snapped out of it. Blogging should never be a forced thing. Instead of focusing on having five posts a week, I have decided to let the process be more natural. Are there home renovation photos I want to share? Great. Then I’ll do it. Do I have Halloween outfit inspiration ideas? Perfect, I’ll blog about it. But blogging should never feel like pulling teeth.

One of my 2015 resolutions was to ‘get more personal’ with my readers. Last year, I began writing a ‘Week in Review’ post on Mondays that highlighted the past week and my favorite memories. At first, it felt a big braggadocious – like “here are all of the cool things I did!”; however, I hope my readers know me well enough to know that I’m not like that. Blogs are like online diaries, so why not share happy memories? It’s my favorite post to write every week, as it makes me feel incredibly grateful for all of the joyful things in our lives.

If you need some convincing why you should write a blog, read this article. I agree wholeheartedly with the arguments!

Now it’s your turn. How do you document your favorite memories? Photos? Do you rely solely on social media, like Facebook and Instagram, or do you keep a diary? Perhaps even a blog?

Blog | Website | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest | Email

You guys have to check out her blog, you won’t be sorry! If you’re anything like me, you’ll be really inspired and impressed. Thank you again SO much Ailee!