Tiny House Your Full-Sized Life · 7 Day Challenge

Day 2 · Decorations, chotskis and other treasures Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.      – William Morris Decoration = elaboration or amplification. If you need to buy something to make a piece of furniture you already have more beautiful or useful, it’s time to rethink things. An attractive piece of furniture should be able to stand alone in its function and appearance. Decorations usually fall into two categories: those that are strictly decorative and those with sentimental value. Regardless of which category your treasures fall into, (and even though this may sound scary) some of them will need to be removed for just a little while. You’re going to be using the “Exile Island Removal…

Tiny House Your Full-Sized Life – 7 Day Challenge

Day 1 · Streamlining In 2007 our family was presented with an opportunity to move to Costa Rica and we decided to “go for it,” without understanding how much downsizing we’d have to do to make such a move. We had to empty out our 3,000 sq. ft. home and get rid of everything, except those items that would fit into the eight suitcases we were able to take with us. Our family of four (including two teenagers) lived in a 450 sq. ft. home in Costa Rica for seven years and we thrived. We were “Tiny House Living” before it became trendy, and I’m going to tell you how you too can enjoy the benefits of “tiny living.” Each day of this challenge I’ll…

Free Local-Led Private Tours of the World’s Most Fascinating Cities

Moving out into the brisk morning air, our private tour guide Daniel, directed us north onto the bustling sidewalk. Reviewing my multiple layers in my head, I was ready for an 80° temperature shift in either direction…bring it on!  Our Big Apple Greeter was here to spend a couple of hours with us showing us around his city, like only a local can. Daniel met us 30 minutes earlier in the lobby of our hotel to share some basics and give us a lay of the land, literally, explaining how strategically Manhattan’s streets had been laid out in 1811. “20 Street blocks = 1 mile (1.6k), Avenues run North and South – Streets run East and West. Distance between avenues is about 3x as long…

The Stunning DIY Wedding Gift, Couples Will Treasure

Racking your brain for the perfect gift for that special couple? This easy to create DIY statue of the bride and groom’s hands is a one-of-a-kind piece of art all couples will love! Even if you aren’t confident in your crafting skills, these unique hand statues are practically mistake free to create, and turn out stunningly every time. First, order the kit on Amazon: Ask the couple for ten minutes of their time, ideally more than a week before their wedding. No worries, if you only have a few days, you can still make this! Meet them somewhere that has a sink and running water and bring the following with you: The moulding kit in the moulding bucket, with the label removed. (Keeping your gift…

Resisters: Read This Before Your Next Visit To Washington D.C.

“Zip up your jacket before you go into the gallery! Your t-shirt can’t be seen in there.” This was the third time I’d been admonished this way by security, as we made our way into the U.S. Senate gallery. THE THIRD TIME. HOW DID WE GET HERE? Honey, I got us tickets to D.C. for our anniversary this spring! My well-meaning husband waited patiently for my enthusiastic response, but I sat frozen and conflicted. Why can’t I jump up and gratefully throw my arms around him? The last time I was there as a tourist was in 1973, the cherry blossoms would be in bloom, and he got an amazing deal on our two tickets, but visit Washington, D.C. now? We lived abroad for most of…

“About Me” · Reconsidered

Writing my ‘About Me’ page, I noticed the similarity to an obituary. Say nothing negative. Only positive spin on the human experience. But, falling down, or “hitting rock bottom,” is the most integral part of our life’s trajectory. It prepares us for spiritual growth. Those moments make us who we are. Why write or blog at all, if you can’t be honest and share about your human foibles? For me, it’s time for a rewrite. About Me (Updated) “I love with wild abandon and determination, in equal parts. All injustice tugs on my heart so aggressively it can cloud my judgement. My love disguises itself as anger when I feel like my husband or children have put themselves in danger. I react to humor is…

Blogging Course Scams and Cons

Dreaming of living abroad as a blogging digital nomad, people are blindly handing over their money to a growing numbers of online experts. One Woman’s Cautionary Tale Staring into the stark light of my Mac in disbelief that September morning, I reread the email. I’d flown cross-country to San Francisco for a workshop I signed up for months ago. Now, hours before it was to begin, my online guru is cancelling it. 9 Months earlier  The Initial Sales Pitch I dabbled with blogging years ago, as a way to escape my isolation as a newly-minted expat in Costa Rica. So, I listened with interest to the video I’d come across on Facebook. Chatting like a girlfriend, the disheveled-looking blonde says, Anyone can become a successful blogger with…

The Dark Side Of Digital Nomad Life

  A cautionary tale for those who are dreaming of an untethered life. Katey sits alone and pours another glass of wine. The price she paid for a really lousy bottle of California wine was obscene, but this is not a time to consider the budget. This is a time cling to the familiar, and enjoy another glass of chardonnay. One digital nomad’s tale She closes her eyes and remembers how she and her husband aimlessly walked through the neighborhood market with their young daughter, and bravely tasted local fare from food carts and ‘hole-in-the-wall” restaurants. All those magical moments of the past few years, captured in dreamy Instagram shots, magazine articles, and blog posts, for their many followers to jealously enjoy. But now that she…

Camping With Your Kids in Northern Thailand · DAY 2 · 2 Day Itinerary

While camping with your kids in Doi Suthep National Park, visit a remote Hmong village and enjoy a cup of coffee in a tiny mountainside cafe · Read about DAY 1 here! · DAY 2  I awoke before sunrise and headed out in search of coffee, only to find other early risers also seeking hot beverages. The concession’s posted hours let us know that we’d all have to wait more than an hour before any coffee hot water + instant coffee/tea would be available, so I headed down to the nearby pavilions to enjoy the quiet and read by headlamp. Shortly before sunrise, I nudged the children out of their sleeping bags, bribing them with sweet breakfast treats I’d brought along in my pack. I helped bundle…

Camping With Your Kids in Northern Thailand · DAY 1 · 2 Day Itinerary

Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, 16km northwest of Chiang Mai, has it all! Waterfalls, Hmong Villages, Temples, mountain biking, hiking, and camping! *Read DAY 2 here* Our mountain-born kids started camping long before their first birthdays, and love to sleep under the stars. Our two children (8 and 11) and I were visiting Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 2012 and heard about an amazing nearby campground in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, so we decided to check it out! DAY 1 – Depart from Chiang Mai Doi Suthep campground is located in the mountains, 24km outside of the city, in Doi Suthep National Park. I made a reservation online and packed our day packs. What to bring Clothes (layers best) and socks, hats and gloves, the nights are cool/cold year round.…