19 Apr

“I remember the rules, rules that were never spelled out but every woman knew: Don’t open your door to a stranger, even if he says he is the police. Make him slide his ID under the door. Don’t stop on the road to help a motorist pretending to be in trouble. Keep the locks on and keep going. If anyone whistles, don’t turn to look. Don’t go into a laundromat, by yourself, at night.

I think about laundromats. What I wore to them: shorts, jeans, jogging pants. What I put into them: my own clothes, my own soap, my own money, money I had earned myself. I think about having such control.

Now we walk along the same street, in red pairs, and no man shouts obscenities at us, speaks to us, touches us. No one whistles.

There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from.”

-Margaret Atwood, The Handmaids Tale

I just finished reading this book for the first time. I wasn’t sure what to expect necessary but having watched the Hulu version first my expectation was for the book to be obvious horror…the kind that slaps you in the face and knocks you down.

That is not the experience you have while reading this at all. It’s subtle, it sneaks up on you like slowly being boiled to death; you don’t really understand what’s happening until it’s too late.


Margaret Atwood creates and experience for her reader that mimics that of the characters. “See. This is how it happens. It’s slow. It’s gradual. Just a little at a time. Just a little more. BAM! Now it’s too late. You’ve given everything away, you’ve given it all up. You have nothing left.”

This is how it happens. You’ll never see it coming but all at once it’s here, it’s gone.

This particular passage about the laundromat is what has struck me to my core. I can’t stop thinking about it, even now chapters and days later it’s on my mind. I’m a single woman I have to think about how to keep myself safe, how to be smart. What to do, and not to do.

But the laundromat…I can picture myself at the laundromat I use, wearing yoga pants or shorts. Sitting on the dryer reading a book-reading: a forbidden act for women. It is “my own clothes, my own soap, my own money, money I had earned myself. [and I do have and I do] think about having such control.”

What it would mean to loose the control, the freedom, the power I’ve carved out in this world for myself? Am I already letting it slip away? Will I? Could I?

This has rattled me more then I thought it would.


36. Attend a Broadway Play

8 Apr

I know I say this every time I check an item off of my bucket list BUT this truly was the best experience EVER.

I was lucky enough to get an access code during the lottery to get online and have a chance to purchase tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The tickets were too expensive for anyone else to see the play with me so I just purchased one- for $400. Now, I know what you’re thinking. $400 is a LOT of money. I agree. HOWEVER. This play was worth every penny.

The production has a #keepthesecrets campaign so I can not talk about the play itself but just know that any amount of money you have to spend to get your hands on a ticket is worth it and you should absolutely go for it! I wish, hope, dream that I can go and see it again.

Bonus I was able to meet almost all of the actors and get their autograph!

The trip to NYC for this play was a quick one; I went with my mom and we spent the day before exploring and doing typical tourist things. We saw The Statue of Liberty, we toured Ellis Island including the “hard hat tour of the hospital” and let me tell you the hard hat tour is outstanding and I highly recommend it. We also went to the top of the Empire State Building; a dream of mom’s born from an obsession with the movie Sleepless in Seattle. We even made it onto the Today Show, and enjoyed bagels with a college friend of mine who lives in Brooklyn now.

I had an amazing time on this mother daughter trip, the play was beyond my wildest dream and expectations ( I cried several times). Bucket list cross off success! 

The Next Ten Thousand Miles

27 Sep

I bought a brand new car a couple of years ago and I want to take the best care I can of it so I always get the regular maintenance done right when I’m suppose to.

It took me a minute to peel the old oil mileage sticker off my window so as I sat there picking at the corners I was reading the date of the last oil change and thinking about all the new people I’ve met since then, the people I’ve lost, the memories I’ve made, and the places I’ve traveled to.

When I finally got back in my car after it’s check up I immediately took notice of the date for the next scheduled maintenance for my car. It’s a date some six months from now. Six months. A lot can happen in six months. For instance I’ll be thirty by then.

I thought about that time frame the whole way back to my place. What new people will I meet? What new memories will I have? Where will I travel to next?

The possibilities were fun to think about.

Anti-social minimalist millennial

25 Sep

There are so many things about the tiny house movement that are being championed by…well. Just about everyone.

The tiny house movement gives independence and home ownership to a generation of people burdened with student loans that might never be able to partake in the traditional American Dream of two-thousand-square-foot-white-picket-fence.

Some of the qualities being championed include:

  • Downsizing and living with what you need and not a mountain of consumerism driven desires.
  • Smaller impact on the environment living in a smaller space that takes less materials to build and less utilities to run.
  • The ability to travel not just to experience all that the world has to offer but also the ability to more easily pick up and move to where the current job availability is.

As someone living as part of the tiny house community I realized there is something we aren’t talking about. Yes we are doing the minimalist life style for great reasons…but I’d be willing to bet we are also doing it because we, “we” being mostly millennials, are an incredibly individualistic generation and we can’t handle living with a roommate or roommates; which arguably would be as cost effective as living in a tiny house. Perhaps more so since the square footage impact would be shared among several people the environmental impact would be lower.

I’ve personally lived in dorm rooms, apartments, and a multi-roommate scenario. Loved my roommates but I think overall everyone would agree we don’t love being roommates. We want our space. We want our privacy. And we want to not clean for a week and spend free time laying around watching Netflix in our underwear without anyone knowing and therefor judging.

The millennial generation is a social group…but we are the founding partakers of the social media boom. We like our social interactions on our terms and at arms length. The tiny house/minimalist movement perfectly aligns with everything we openly and secretly value.

We don’t have a lot of money to spare, we want our privacy, we want something nice, we want independence and stability but we also don’t want to be tied down. We are, overall, a generation of people who were shoved into four year colleges and universities because “that’s what you do”. We earned degrees we didn’t really think about the usefulness of and spending tens of thousands of dollars in the process of getting said degree.

I also think a factor driving a lot of millennials into the minimalist movement is that many of us watched our parents struggle to afford their large beautiful homes as the economy tanked during the recession and we don’t want to repeat the American economic mistakes that lead to the recession.

What do you think?

Festive DIY for Fall

17 Sep

I don’t usually decorate for holidays but I needed a little retail theory and crafting therapy following Hurricane Irma.

I decided to create a Mickey Mouse shaped fall wreath. I spent $11 on the supplies and it took me less than an hour to create.

Supplies needed:

  1. Hot glue gun and glue
  2. Scissors
  3. Metal cutting pliers
  4. Two inch long screws
  5. Fake fall foliage
  6. Two styrofoam pumpkins
  7. Roll of wire edge ribbon
  8. Straw wreath

Here’s how I did it:

  1. Set up your craft area with a towel to work on so you can shake the mess of later.
  2. Unwrap the wreath
  3. Cut all of the foliage into single stems using the metal cutting pliers.
  4. Push single stems through the straw wreath and either cut the excess stems or wrap them around the wreath and back through the straw to secure.
  5. Put the one inch long screws in the area you want the ears, put hot glue on the threads of the screw before putting it into the straw. I tried to do this without the screws and the pumpkins would not stay.
  6. Use scissors to cut a small section out of the bottom of both styrofoam pumpkins.
  7. Fill hole in the bottom of the styrofoam pumpkins with hot glue and insert the screw into the hot glue filled hole. Press and hold for a minute while the glue dries.
  8. Wrap ribbon around the wreath between the ears to use as a hanger for the completed project.

Two for Two

12 Sep

I can’t believe I’m saying this but The Scooby Shack survived it’s second hurricane in less than a year.

The bubble around it during Mathew came into play again as Irma went through Florida. Hopefully this is the last hurricane to hit Florida for a while; not sure my nerves could take a third.

10.Stay out all night

8 Sep

Originally I put this on my bucket list with the intention of having a night full of antics, and those memories you laugh about for years to come.

The reality behind scratching number ten off of my bucket list is one of fear, devastation, and uncertainty.

Wednesday started before 4am to finish taping trash bags over my 30-year-old windows, cramming my lounge chairs, stairs, and kayak inside my hallway, unplugging the power, cable, water and sewer.

Wednesday afternoon was business as usual carrying on with the lesson for the day…but I don’t even remember what that was now.

Right after school a friend helped me move the Scooby Shack off of Hutchinson Island and into Stuart. Looking at my home for what was most likely the last time broke my heart. I knew then I was choosing to leave it behind to guarantee I got out of the state in time. I knew I’d probably lose everything. I knew I could end up homeless. I ignored those thoughts and refused to let them fully form. They are forming now.

Powered by adrenaline rooted in fear I drove 1,064 miles in 18 hours; alone in the car but held company with many over the phone as I drove to safety and away from my possessions, home, and job.

I need to remember that things can be replaced what matters is that I evacuated when I was supposed to; getting to safety without issues or delays. If only my brain could communicate that to my broken heart, my scared and defeated soul, and my shaking body.

34 hours without sleep crossed this bucket list item off the list.

42. Visit Disney

18 Jul

30 is this big milestone birthday for women; we put a lot of heavy hitting life stuff on that number like it's do or die. Ridiculous… I didn't want to spend all of my 29th year dreading 30. 

Which to be honest I'm kind of doing anyway.

But that's beside the point. 

The point is I want to have fun for the last year of my 20s. So I gave myself a three day ticket to Disney; can't get much more fun than that right? Best part is the three days can be used whenever, you don't have to do them all in a row. So I spread them out several months.

I visited Magic kingdom first with my bestie. We were there open to close. Biggest thing I learned? Use one of your your fast pass slots on the miner ride. Never did get on it, the line was insane all day long. 

Next up was Animal kingdom, went with a group of friends and the biggest thing I learned while visiting this park? Don't run home if it rains. Wait it out, laugh it out, and head right to the safari ride because the line is nonexistent and the animals are all out after the rain. Also…don't wear a white tank top. 

For my final ticket I headed to Hollywood studios on my own. There is quite a bit of construction, and not to my interest a lot of Star Wars stuff. BUT this was my favorite park. I'm a huge TCM fan and they have an amazing ride and fantastic line entertainment while you wait, the Aerosmith ride is beyond amazing I rode it three times. Now this is where my lesson was learned:  I waited in line for over an hour to ride the Aerosmith ride the first time…turns out there is a single riders line you can get through in ten minutes. Use it. Also the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is truly terrifying but a major adrenaline rush. 

This was an amazing self gift and one of the more fun bucket list items I've done so far. I'll probably end up buying a season pass to Disney. It's a quick day trip on boring weekends, and with the season pass you're getting free parking and a percentage off food and purchases in the park…that essentially pays for the monthly season pass fee, so why not? 

Tiny House: Presentation 

11 Jul

Being apart of the Tiny House community has opened me up to two really cool outreach opportunities. 

The first was taking part in a survey of questions for a dissertation someone was writing, they found me through this very blog, and the second was being asked to do a presentation for the Dover Public Librarys’ Tiny House Series. 

I was absolutely flattered when I was asked to be apart of this series. I was told about 65 people had signed up to hear my presentation and when I got there over 100 had come; we had to find more chairs!

I presented before and after photos showing every step of the renovation process and I talked about what it has been like living tiny. The audience asked a lot of questions and I had an absolute blast answering them and talking to everyone about my journey! 

My family sat in the back and live streamed the presentation to Facebook watch it here: Live Stream of Tiny House Presentation and to see the presentation click here: My Tiny House Presentation Slides

Sea Turtle

3 Jun

Photo by: Jamie Neal

Completely warm darkness, silent with the exception of crashing waves swirling sand and shells. The moon sheds a gentle light; between the vast ocean, endless night sky and the formidable moon a person feels small but grounded and whole with their place in the world. 

Wet sand squish between my toes and shells stab my soles as I approach the unmistakable signs of a turtle having finished her task and returned to the sea. Four times I passed these tracks with mounting frustration and worry that I’ve missed my chance to see one of natures amazing moments. 

Finally I spot her; fifteen feet from the braking waves a beautiful turtle with sand piled all around her, my heart slams in my chest having come upon her so suddenly. 

Keeping my distance I wait, finding a comfortable spot to sit in the sand…mosquitos swarm and feast biting repeatedly so in a moment of desperation I flung myself into the ocean. Cooled off certainly, but the mosquitos don’t relent.

The certainly of tomorrow’s misery is worth the chance to witness the turtle nesting, so I wait. 

As suddenly as I stumbled upon her the turtle has finished her task and is hastily making her way back to the ocean; the waves glide over her head and she is gone.