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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. 

Spontaneous Solo Travel 

8 Mar

With the promise of a three day weekend I made the decision to do something I’d been wanting to do; visit St. Augustine, FL.

I did invite a couple of people, with short notice no one could come. I decided to go anyway. Best decision I could of made.

I had the most enjoyable weekend, possibly of all time. I booked and inexpensive hotel right in the center of all there was to see and do and I purchased a trolley tour that came with admission into 5 popular attractions.

I spent 48 hours going wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted, seeing and doing whatever I wanted. It was beyond perfection not having to compromise or think about anyone but myself. It truly blows my mind how much I’ve grown and changed in the last three years or so. There was a time when I wouldn’t even go to Walmart alone, now here I am traveling over two hundred miles for a weekend totally alone.

St. Augustine is truly amazing, the history, shopping, food, and all there was to see and experience. Now, the price of admission seemed a little high on some of the attractions but when purchased in the trolley package totally worth it. My only trolley complaint was if you wanted to get on just to get back near your hotel it could be quite a long ride, upwards of an hour/hour and half.

I learned a lot about the area, American history, and myself during this trip. 

Diet

8 Feb

In high school boys tormented me; if they saw me eating during lunch they’d offer me their own lunch as well, obviously I was still hungry being “Shamu” and all. So I stopped eating lunch, or I’d cram a granola bar in my mouth in secret as I went up the back stairs to class.

Sad thing is, I wasn’t even that chubby yet. I just had hips and a chest. But the not eating basically shut down my metabolism and as the years went on I did get chubby, very chubby. I tried every diet and exercise, and gym out there. I went to doctors specializing in weight loss, nutritionists…didn’t matter. The damage was done both to my mindset and my body.

The result is a terrible relationship with food and eating. Being tormented in high school lead me to hate food; I don’t want to eat, I don’t enjoy eating an when I do I feel shameful an guilty like I don’t have a right to be eating anything. 

Now as an adult I’m trying so hard to eat right and exercise I was getting right in my head but I’ve put a good portion of what I loss back on even though I’m still working out and eating right, it still doesn’t seem to be enough.

Working and sacrificing…and still having it not be enough is soul crushing.

I think what truly bothers me the most is people assume I’m weak or lazy when they look at me. I’m neither of those things.

So Friday I start a new round of life style changes with a diet to kick start me. 

30 Before 30

30 Jan

I just turned 29. I’m not exactly sure when I got to be this old…yes, yes 29 isn’t “old”. One day I’m sure I’ll be lying and say I’m 29 when I’m not.

But really, that went really fast. I’ve been out of high school for 11 years this summer! I’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to join, experience, lead, travel, see, and have love in my life. But I feel like I still should be doing more with my time.

So in keeping with my love of list making;  the 30 things to try to do before I turn 30 next year.

  1. Go on a cruise 
  2. Take a train trip
  3. Play paintball
  4. Go zip lining
  5. Spend the night on the beach
  6. Be totally surprised
  7. Be positive
  8. Spend an entire day happy
  9. Get better at cooking
  10. Look in the mirror and find fault with nothing I see
  11. Feel at home where ever I am
  12. Get a NEW haircut, not just a trim
  13. Put financial plans into action for my future
  14. Have FULL days
  15. Live in the present; less in the past & future
  16. Take a picture with a ’30’
  17. Send my mom 30 flowers
  18. Dance to 80’s music
  19. Make a list of 30 things I’m thankful for
  20. Give 30 acts of kindness
  21. Dig further into my family’s genealogy
  22. Get a stamp in my passport
  23. Laugh so hard I end up on the floor
  24. Declutter my bedroom at my parents house; I’m hanging onto a lot of crap
  25. Get my professional teaching certification 
  26. Visit a new state (or several) 
  27. Eat clean
  28. Be more active
  29. Watch less tv
  30. Read more

Another Year Gone 

1 Jan

2016 was another year of firsts, triumphs, trials, and tribulations. 

For 2016 I decided that I was going to have no expectations; I was just going to go with the flow and see where the 365 days took me.

That was the best thing I could of done.

I said yes to so many new experiences and had a pretty good year. I lost weight, renovated the tiny house I am living in, took a spontaneous trip to Seattle, I am more confident in my job, and I’ve had the chance to do things for the people I love.

So for the first time in a while I’m sending off the year without regrets. I said what I meant, I did what I wanted, and I tried new things.

I hope 2017 will be as filled with new experiences and awesome memories as 2016 was. 

The Christmas Card 

16 Dec

15326351_10104927238232114_9134524054777893964_nI’ll start off by admitting I did not want to do a personalized Christmas card. Those are for families and people with babies…not single girls. That’s awkward. But my best friend talked me into it by saying it would be fun, people would love it, and “you live an amazing life in Florida show it off!”

So to continue on my path of “brave, proud, single life”, I sent out 15 personalized Christmas cards. My best friend and her husband took the picture for the card and I created them on Shutterfly; I love that website so much. I buy way too much from them.

At first the plan was to take the picture with the Scooby Shack… but I couldn’t think of a way to take the picture that wouldn’t look exceptionally awkward, as well as have other people an their homes in the background. Ultimately we decided to take the pictures at the beach and the they turned out awesome! The water was a beautiful shade of aqua that day and I wore a great Lilly Pulitzer dress.

img_0791For the card itself I decided to add some intentional “funny” to the body of my card by adding the chorus lyrics to “Single Bells”. On the front I put “Seas & Greetings”. I even made the envelopes special by coloring a large monogram of everyone’s last initial on the front, a snowflake on the back, as well as matching address labels I ordered from Shutterfly. 

It’s funny how there are just some things in our society we don’t do because of social convention, seriously it’s just a Christmas card. But it’s not the norm. All of the Shutterfly examples used to showcase the different styles were of parents with their children, and a few young couples. Our society really sends mixed messages about “single life”. For the most part it is glamorized, exaggerated and celebrated by the entertainment industry. But when it comes to product sales relationships and families are hailed.

The small group of close friends and family I sent the cards to all seemed to enjoy them. I sure would love to know the reaction of the person who printed my cards… I wonder if they thought they were funny, clever, or strange?

 

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#2 Live Alone

23 Oct

unnamed…and relish the independence.

Honestly wasn’t sure if I would ever cross this one off of my bucket list. Between student loans and the impossibility of finding a decent paying job, living on my own felt like a pipe dream.

Lucky enough I found a job that takes care of the two biggest factors in making living on my own a reality. Granted I am still not where I want to be in my life but I know for certain that I am a lucky girl, and that the choices I have made so far have been good choices. The biggest being the choice to live in a tiny house. Thinking long term any money I can save now will be beneficial to me later; not to mention making traveling more possible, which is one of the most important things to me.

I know I’m lucky because at 28 years old, I have a good paying job, a solid course of action for my student loans, I am living not only on my own but a thousand miles from home and in a house that while unconventional I own.

My little house with all of the beautiful renovations and alterations I own outright because I paid cash for everything. How many single people can say that at 28? I’m very thankful for all of the help and support in making this little house a reality.

I adore my little house and I am particularly proud to cross #2 Live Alone off my bucket list.

Tiny House: Hurricane Preparations 

10 Oct

hurricane-matthew-florida-fridayTimeline of events: 

Mom and dad left on Sunday.

Monday was a holiday for my school so I spent Monday really settling in to The Shack.

Tuesday we are back at school and at the end of an increasingly nervous day were notified that hurricane Mathew would in fact hit Florida.

Wednesday we would have an early release and no school on Thursday and Friday. I had a plane ticket back to Ohio on Thursday night (for a wedding Saturday) that was canceled.

My older sister found me a ticket out of Florida Wednesday morning so I went ahead and called off work for the early release Wednesday

I needed to prepare the camper as best I could for what was expected to be a  devastating level 4 hurricane. I had to make decisions fast. My family was doing everything they could to help me from Ohio but moving the camper wasn’t an option. I had to prepare it to stay right where it was; just a 5 minute walk from the Indian river an a mile at most from the ocean.

I spent Tuesday night racing around town trying to find boxes, I couldn’t. So I bought heavy duty plastic and duct tape. I taped the plastic on the inside and the outside of every window. If the glass was going to break maybe I could save it from the rain.

All the food in the fridge had to be thrown out, breakables moved off the walls, I sent all of my Lilly Pulitzer clothing and my computer off to my sorority big sisters house; it felt like I was shipping my children off to the country for the blitz. I unplugged the camper, moved my kayak inside, locked the door and left.

I spent the night in Orlando, the governor had succeeded in scaring the pants off of my family and I. I didn’t want to risk evacuation traffic and miss my flight. For $5 a day I was able to park at the hotel; cheaper then parking at the airport and a free bus to and from.

Landing in Ohio Wednesday afternoon felt surreal. I left a state that was looking and feeling increasingly apocalyptic an after a few hours I was safe and back with my family.

The next 24 hours were terrible. We stayed glued to the weather channel and social media keeping tabs on my friends and the area. The storm kept getting worse, public officials and the media started to tell people if they didn’t evacuate they would die and no one would come to save them…

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Tiny House: Moving 

7 Oct

The process of moving my tiny house, now named The Scooby Shack, was not without trials.

My mom and dad did the moving. The vehicle they rented to drive it down to Florida from Ohio was canceled by the company 4 days before it was set to leave. A new vehicle was acquired only to find out it didn’t have the required equipment to hitch up The Shack. A third vehicle was then found, brought back home, and hitched up to the camper.

Hours later, raining, and the lights that were working on the camper are not not working with the rental. After purchasing a light kit my parents are finally able to start making their way to Florida.

The drive went fine, but as they’re driving down here my dad notices that the alternator is starting to go out in the truck.

We are able to get The Shack put in its spot an drive the truck back to the house I was  renting, where we called the rental company who in turn called a tow truck to get it. The tow truck driver was exceptionally rude. An it took over 24 hours to get another rental to move my larger items like the bed.

We made countless trips between the house I was moving out of and The Shack taking as much as we could with Kiwi my little Kia.

We also ran into an issue with the water heater; ended up being a flaw in their instructions and not the water heater. Very long story short we figured it out. But not before having to stay in a hotel for a night because we couldn’t get the water on.

It was a very stressful couple of days but we were able to get everything set up, stabilized, organized, and clean.

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