It’s All About the People

I consider myself lucky because I am surrounded by people that truly make me feel like I’m living the absolute best life I could ask for. My life is good because of the good people in it.

Is that the case for everyone? 

People are the icing on the cake, sort of speak. They make or break the cake. They are the difference between living an ordinary day and living “the best day of my life.”

This past weekend I was lucky enough to spend my time with wonderful people, doing fun things, in a beautiful place. And I have plans to do the same again, in a totally different beautiful place, this coming weekend. Oh, and all week I spent time with 47 of the coolest kiddos on the planet, not to mention a pretty amazing teaching partner. I’m overflowing with gratitude over here! 

Getting back to this past weekend…I saw a new area of Denver and totally fell in love with it! My dear friend and I took advantage of the beautiful Sunday weather and walked through this neighborhood. We made our way to Denver Biscuit Co., a scrumptious little joint with a menu that will make your mouth water. 

*If you find yourself in Denver, do yourself a favor and look up this biscuit-focused restaurant. I would recommend the shrimp and grits biscuit plate, but I’m sure everything else on the menu is just as good! 



I digress, the food was wonderful, but this day was made with company. Walkin’ , talkin’, even took a little pause to swing on a neighborhood tree swing! It was a casual, urban adventure, but an adventure all the same! 


I hope you’re all planning to surround yourself with smiling friends this weekend! Enjoy!

xoxo,

E

P.S. Stop back soon because I have a question for you guys! 

The Bright Side

Always find the bright side. This is the single most important lesson I’ve learned out of all the lessons.

I told you I had some sad news, but keep in mind it’s not all sad. You can always find a bright side. 

Annie is no longer with me. Her wonderful daycare owner has adopted her. This is terribly sad because I miss Annie and I feel a bit like I’ve let her down. After all we’ve been through together, I couldn’t take good enough care of her. She had been getting increasingly aggressive and finally moved from nipping and barking to full on biting. I didn’t know how else to help her than what I’d already been doing. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to socialize her and get her out among people in different environments, but she just wouldn’t lighten up. I finally realized she would be better off somewhere she can run around with lots of other pups all day and somewhere more constant. 

It turns out I was right. Like I said, there’s always a bright side. Annie is doing so well at her new home. Of course this news brings me so much happiness for Annie and her new family. It also brings a couple tears for me missing her, but at least I know that I did the right thing for her. She hasn’t been barking at the males in the house and is even cuddling with them! 

Anyway, that’s the sad news. When it rains it pours, but don’t worry…I’ve got my eyes peeled for the rainbow, I know it’s just around the corner!

xoxo

E

Lessons Learned…The Hard Way…Again.

“Take it slow,” they said… “Think it through,” they said…

If anyone has ever known me to listen to the advice of my elders, or  learn from someone else’s mistakes (or even my own mistakes), raise your hand. Anyone? Didn’t think so. 

I prefer to learn my lessons the hard way. To make my own mistakes, suffer the consequences, learn from those consequences, and then maybe miss a few things and make the same ones all over again. I’ve been learning this way my entire life. My teachers would have told you that I’m an experiential learner, and they were correct and that was never limited to the classroom. 

For example, how do you learn boiling water is hot? You hear your dad tell you, “That’s hot, don’t touch it.” No! You hear that, and then you touch it! And it burns, so then you don’t touch it again. 

Anyhow, you may have guesssed by now from the bitter beginning, that I no longer live with Kyle. It’s true. I no longer even speak with him, which is pretty crazy. It’s been a bit of time now, the whole thing was really short-lived. And I can sit here and tell you all how it was a mistake and I totally misjudged the guy, but in all reality I was just being true to myself. I was happily following my heart and I hope to continue doing so. Luckily for me, Life had another lesson for me and I think it may have stuck this time, by golly! 

In fact, I’m not sure if it’s the progression of lessons or just my age and maturity (hold your snickers folks), but I think this may have been the most multi-faceted lesson I’ve been dealt yet. I think I came out ahead in a few different areas actually! Some gems that I’m working through as a result:

  • Patience is a virtue – I know, I know. I’ve been working on this one for a while.
  • It’s not what happens in your life that defines you, it’s how you handle each situation that really shows your character. – This one is a lesson in optimism and the power of positive thinking, you know. Finding the bright side. 
  • Life is only ever now – I think this one is so hard for me because I’m a planner, I have to have a plan at all times. However, my plan typically changes about 8 or 9 times a week. Sure, I’ll cycle through plans for a while…revisit ones that are pretty good, maybe even follow all the way through on some that aren’t so good. But I also have no idea what my future holds and I really love that freedom. So how do I find a balance between those two things? 
  • Listen.

The “life is now” one is the one I’m really focusing on right now. Pun intended. Go ahead, throw your suggestions at me. I’ll listen to them. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll even learn from them πŸ˜‰.

“It’s about being fearlessly and relentlessly true to yourself” ~unknown


More to come shortly, I’ve got some sad news for you all, but I didn’t want to spoil this bright post with it so check back in a bit.

xoxo

E

Snow?

I’ve been crossing my fingers for a few months now that Annie would love the snow. She isn’t a huge fan of heat and gets quite lazy on hot, sunny days. Surely, that means she must really do well in the cold, right?!

This past weekend we finally got to test out that theory. The hiking trail I chose was unexpectedly covered in snow and to my happy surprise, Annie loved it! Hiking in the snow is my absolute favorite, and now that I know Annie enjoys it too, nothing beats snow covered pines and puppies galavanting through powder!

The pines were not covered in snow on this section, but that peak behind me is!


Annie and her pal, Abby, loved the snow. They both did great on a longer-than-expected hike up in the mountains. This was Annie’s longest hike to date and she was happy and energetic from start to finish. 

Although, she crashed pretty hard as soon as we got back in the car.


Our adventure really has me looking forward to winter and all the snowy explorations to come! 

Check out this adorable video of the above mentioned galavanting! 

​​
Happy tails and happy trails! 

xoxo

E and A🐢

Get Involved!Β 

Do you want to help make a change? 

A struggle for tiny housers is the fact that our government doesn’t really know what to make of these humble abodes just yet. The lack of understanding and recognition makes it difficult to find a place to park and it creates challenges around insuring our homes. 

Think about that, there are plenty of tiny housers who don’t have insurance for their home. We have widled down our belongings to just the most important things, just the necessities. We put all of those things in our home, which is often on wheels, and then might not be able to insure it! I can’t speak for other tiny housers, but I’m sure many will agree with me when I say, this 8′ x 16′ box is literally ALL I have! I need to know that it’s safe, and if something out of my hands were to happen to it, I’d be able to replace it. 

What can you do about that, you ask? You can sign this petition to get Tiny Houses written into the IRC (International Residential Codes), to make Tiny Houses legal. 

Click here to sign! 

I want to thank Parker over at Tiny Cabin on the Move for posting about this petition and helping to spread the word. 

xoxo

E (A doesn’t care about this one, because she’s a 🐢)

Tiny House, Grand Mess!

Cooking in a Tiny House is an adjustment, luckily it has become a very comfortable one. Small kitchens have always felt more welcoming to me. I’ve consistently cooked/baked more when living in a house with a small kitchen than when I had a spacious kitchen. Surprisingly, making the adjustment to the Tiny kitchen wasn’t quite as easy as I expected.

The biggest problem has been a design flaw on my part. Something I didn’t put together when designing my space is the size of my fridge and the distance from home to the market. I can’t shop for an entire week at once because my fridge doesn’t have the capacity to keep that much food fresh. Sometimes that means I stock up on Annie’s Mac ‘n Cheese, other times it means I have to shop a few times throughout the week. 

Recently though, I’ve been getting more and more adventurous. Before the climbing trip last week, I made a double batch of zucchini bread to take for breakfast snacks. It is pretty cozy cooking in here, and it’s getting more and more fun, the more I try.

It sure does get messy quickly though.

Check out these photos of my experience!

Prepping the ingredients.

Combining the ingredients, those are dark chocolate chips 😜


The finished product! It was delicious!


You can check out the recipe I used here, on wellplated.com. The zucchini bread was healthy and quite tasty!

My next goal is pumpkin pie, check back in to see how it goes and to get a review on my tiny oven!

Mattress Matters

Rather than buying a new mattress for my Tiny, I decided to make one! My close friend made one about a year before me and I took a glorious nap on it once and was sold. It was so comfortable! Firm, but form-fitting. 

The mattress is made of buckwheat hulls and cotton tubes. It was easy to make and the best part is it fits my space perfectly. 

First, we measured out the buckwheat hulls, tied knots in one end of the cotton tubes, then filled them with the hulls. 

Next, we made the filled tubes into pods by tying the ends together.

When all the pods were made, we arranged them into the mattress shape, and tied them together. 

My dad helped me build the frame which keeps all the pods together. Here you can see that the frame is built into the loft.

I put a mattress pad under the pods and on top to protect them from Annie nails. (You may recall that she was still missing at this time, but I knew she would come home πŸ˜€.) 


I have to fluff the pods every other night before going to sleep, but it only takes a second and I really love sleeping on this mattress. So does Annie girl 🐢! 

You can learn more about my mattress from the Open Your Eyes Bedding website.

Shoot me your questions in the comments section!

xoxo

E and A🐢

Back Again

I know it’s been a while again, but we’ve just been so busy exploring! We may love living on The Prairie, but Annie and I have found a new favorite place for adventuring…The Desert. 

Our most recent adventure took us to Moab and surrounding climbing areas. I fell in love with the splitter cracks and Annie fell in love with the sand!

The pup cruised each uphill approach while we were at Indian Creek, boulder hopping, sand sliding, and all. She is still apprehensive on the downhills, though she made slight progress each day. 

Annie’s biggest weakness, and another area I’m really hoping to see progress in, is with her socialization. She has improved, but still growls or barks at strangers. I’m not quite sure how to help her get over this aside from time and exposure, but I’m totally open to ideas if anyone has any expert advice. (This would be a great use of the comments section πŸ‘πŸΌ.)

Annie wasn’t the only one making gains on this trip, I led two pitches on gear and climbed a bunch of crack routes. I was lucky enough to get on a beautiful route called Annunaki that got me super psyched and it really helped me push myself. A few other factors that contributed to the stoke this week are my climbing partner, who continues to push me past my comfort zone, and our discovery of a cold brew coffee that is perfect to take to the crag. This delicious treat is called Stōk and we decided it is quite properly named, as it totally raised the stoke of the day! For those of you who aren’t sure what stoke is, it’s the excitement surrounding the activity of the day. When stoke is high, good things happen!

Check out these pics from the trip then check back soon for some Tiny House breakdowns. First up, how I made my mattress! 

Annie exploring during our bouldering session at Big Bend

View of the Bridger Jacks from the tent

Me on Mudslide, Annuunaki is the sick crack to the right.

Another shot of Annunaki because it’s just so beautiful!

Here I am at the top of my first lead. This one is called Rochambeau

xoxo

E and A🐢

Inhale. Exhale.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is too familiar with the feeling of taking a deep breath and then wondering where it all went. There’s a reason the exhale is so much more satisfying. The exhale is where we let it go. 

When we are too overwhelmed it’s hard to find the sweet goodness of a deep exhale. There’s too much running through our brains to let go of anything.  Before a thought can float away, we must be sure it’s time to let it go. But what do you do when there simply isn’t enough space to work through all your thoughts? 

I have many vices to help with this situation. Writing, running, music, and most of all, adventuring. 

Something about getting out in the mountains with only what I need, disconnecting from the rest of the world for a bit, and pushing physical (or mental) limits helps me find the space to work things out and let things go. 

Remember when I told you I wanted to live in a tiny home so I would have more space in my life for adventuring? It worked. I’ve been getting out climbing just about every weekend, even if only for a day trip. When I stop and think about the factors that play into my ability to do this, I feel incredibly reassured in my lifestyle choice.

The Tiny is set up so that my gear is super accessible. It takes me less than 30 minutes to pack up the adventuremobile for a weekend trip. That includes Annie’s things too! 

It takes the same amount of time to unpack. I like to keep my space pretty clean, especially now that every square foot counts. A deep clean of my house, which I try to do about once per week, takes less than an hour. 

I’ve also been lucky enough to cross paths with an awesome climbing partner who seriously challenges my abilities. Last weekend I lead a 5.7 on gear. I honestly never thought I would lead on gear. It’s scary!  


What happens in my head when I’m climbing is what allows me to breathe. It refocuses my attention on what’s important. Climbing outside of my comfort zone completely clears my head because I must focus all of my thoughts on the next move. It’s called flow

Before I left the ground on my lead, my climbing partner told me to just focus on the climbing. Don’t focus on the gear, don’t think about falling, just focus on the climbing. It’s the best climbing advice I’ve ever heard and potentially useful when applied to other aspects of life as well. 

Maybe, if I just focus on the next move I need to make, I’ll be able to inhale and exhale.

I’m back, and I’ll have more updates for you soon. Thanks for reading!

xoxo

E and A🐢

Hashtag Prairie Life

Prairie life is hard. Prairie life is harsh, prickly, and at times, lonely. 

You’ve heard the saying, “20 minutes from everywhere!” It’s frequently used in ads to explain how close a car dealership or a shopping mall is to “absolutely everywhere.” Well, when you live out on the Prairie, it’s used to explain just how far away you are from anything you might need; the grocery store, a restaurant, the gym, your mailbox. All of the places you may visit multiple times throughout the week, living on the Prairie will make you think twice. “Do I really need to drive to the grocery store? Or can I make something out of oatmeal, dog food, and…basil?” (Meal planning in a tiny house has proven to be a weakness of mine.) Even eager visitors begin to shy away from the drive, once the lure of seeing a tiny house has worn off.

When you live on the Prairie, yard work looks a bit like your typical yard work. Except rather than raking leaves or mowing your lawn, you’re spending the hours digging up the stubborn yucca roots to prevent them from taking over with a vengence; which they will do in a few short weeks if you just cut them down. Not to mention, your dog’s leash will get stuck on even the smallest yucca stump. Meaning, you run the risk of her getting caught out in the sun without the hope of finding refuge in the shade.

A pile of yucca we cleaned up from the yard


The weather DOES NOT mess around on the Prairie. When it’s sunny, it’s blazing. When it’s windy, batten down the hatches because anything not tied down will blow away. Leaving the windows open through a rain storm will result in a wet bed, a wet floor, and wet towels.
Luckily, you can see the storms coming from miles away.

When you live on the Prairie, watching a storm roll in is better than watching a movie. Especially if it happens at sunset. The vibrant backdrop overlaid with the gray of the storm and the blues of the mountains will move you tears.


The sunrise reflecting off the mountains and the peaceful soundtrack of the Prairie make for the most zen morning walks. This daily light show and soundtrack produced by mother nature herself can’t be touched by crowded streets or bright city lights out on the Prairie.

sunrise colors πŸ™‚


Usually in life, our challenges are what brings us the greatest rewards. When I say #PrairieLife, it’s most likely out of pure joy for the beautiful place I get to call home.

Thanks for sticking around long enough to get to the good stuff!

xoxo

E and A🐢