Microadventures in Fairfield County, Connecticut: Mill Hill Open Space

Last year, I read an article in The New York Times about NatGeo’s 2012 adventurer of the year, Alastair Humphreys and The Virtue of Microadventures. At the time, it struck me. It’s a lesson that took me too long to grasp: in pursuit of living a big, adventurous life, you don’t always have to go far from home.

Connecticut is perfect for microadventures. As I mentioned in my post about how settling in to CT, there is an abundance of open space areas to wander through & break away. On a run one day, I stumbled upon Mill Hill Open Space.

Town of Fairfield Mill Hill Open Space April 30 May Sign

Continue reading “Microadventures in Fairfield County, Connecticut: Mill Hill Open Space”

Birdwatching in El Yunque National Forest and Loquillo Beach

Spring has certainly sprung over in our little corner of Coastal Connecticut! For me, that means spring cleaning every nook and cranny, yard work, and enjoying the heck outta the outdoors. But! I can’t let one more day go by without sharing the final full day we spent in Puerto Rico–it’s been a week and a half since we were there.

The visitor center at El Yunque National Forest was great- all outdoors, but well covered. There were many exhibits on the wildlife, Rainforest preservation, and we caught an English version of the documentary that shared all of this information in a way that our seven year old could bear.

El Yunque is the only forest in the United States National Park system that is a tropical Rainforest. With my obsession with National Parks (Remember, I eloped in one?), it’s suitable that we showed up to el unique El Yunque during the National Park Service Centennial.

Visitors Center for El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico Continue reading “Birdwatching in El Yunque National Forest and Loquillo Beach”

D.I.-whY?

“Why do you do it yourself? Why not buy it instead?”

“Yeah. What’s your why?”

During Monarch Workshop, I was asked this, and I started overflowing with answers to the question. I thought I’d share some of my reasoning.

I’ve been a maker for as long as I remember.

When I was a child going through chemotherapy, I spent much of my time in the local children’s hospital, where they had a well-stocked toyland of a playroom on every single floor. Every time I was recovering from my latest treatment, all I wanted to do there was use their canvas and paints, and I could care less about any of the other toys.

The women before me were makers.

My Granny owned a business selling her pies. My Meemaw taught me how to embroider when I was five. One year, when our mother asked what we wanted to be for Halloween, my sister aInswered, “a princess on a pony,” and I, “a flower in a pot,” and that’s precisely what we were.

I have expensive taste.

Good design isn’t cheap. By the time lower-end manufacturers catch on to trends, their attempts at creating something “just as good” often falls short of the mark. (Not to mention that you have to consider HOW things are made cheap to begin with.) With a few tweaks and a fraction of the cost, I can get the look for less without breaking the bank. And who doesn’t love that?

I want to reduce my environmental footprint.

I’ve got serious guilt issues when it comes to throwing things away. When I was growing up, we didn’t have a whole lot, so I always wanted to keep what I did. It’s like the old ladies that survived the depression and hide money everywhere, I guess. When I was older and learned about how our consumerist culture is affecting the planet, it gave me fuel to my thrift-and-adjust or change-don’t-toss ways of life.

It is all mine.

Don’t you love the feeling when someone compliments something you’re wearing or something in your home? When you’ve got an awesome story about a great deal you got on it, it’s even better. But putting your BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS (or, more often than not, just a little bit of effort) into something and getting kudos without the other person knowing? Knowing that they can’t go out and buy it? Golden.

It’s the climb.

Cue Miley Cyrus when she was still a doe-eyed teenager. Yeah, it takes more time than heading to Target and making it happen. I find making things fun, though. Like prefer-it-over-a-Saturday-night-rager fun. Not that I’m invited to those anyway, I’m a cool mom, but not that kind of cool mom.

Pride.

I could finish projects a lot more quickly than I do. And it’s not because of piled up housework, responsibilities as a wife and mom. It’s not because of procrastination, or because I’m second guessing my creative choices. Though the latter plays a role in the time frame I start a project, what slows me down during the process is the roughly one hundred or so times I step back, admire what I’m doing, and get overwhelmingly excited about what I’ll be looking at upon completion. It’s the pause, the thought, “This is going to be so awesome,” the bask, then resuming.

 

I’ve heard of people saying before that their hobbies are like breath, they can’t live without it. It’s not that way for me–I can live without being a maker. I just wouldn’t chose to.

Why do you DIY? Leave your answer below in the comments.

Why do people Do it themselves when they can buy it in a store

 

The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Guide to Meeting Friends in a New Town

Disclaimer: this isn’t a cohesive guide. I’m still navigating how to figure out this one, and I’m definitely not ready to write the book. Just the blog post. 😉

Back in Houston, my friend Kellie (who has a blog about running and yoga and is a Houston transplant) once mentioned that meeting friends in a new city is a lot like dating. Now that I’m going about the effort myself, I couldn’t agree more: I put on makeup and dress smart-casual, worry over what we’ll talk about beforehand, obsess over “should I have said that?” afterward, along with “does she like me?” and “when should I call her to hang out again?”It’s an overly self-conscious matter, and for someone like me, who was very traditional in dating, it’s much more of a challenge than dating ever was. The fact that I don’t work outside of the home is just another obstacle in meeting people.

The house has been coming along, the weather has been warming up, and I’m finally putting myself out there more than ever. I’ve gone on a few “first dates,” so I thought I’d share a few ways I’ve met people in my new town. Continue reading “The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Guide to Meeting Friends in a New Town”

New House Project Plans

I’ve been a shopping, cleaning, box opening, credit card swiping fool for the last couple of weeks, but I finally cleaned up and cleared boxes enough to share some progress pictures.

I have so many DIYs in store for this house, and my little head was going to burst if I didn’t go ahead and map some things out. The first room(s) I have cleaned up are the living/dining room combo and the kitchen. We have an open floor plan for these rooms, so they’re pretty much one space. (The way I figure, it’s only a different room if you can’t see its mess from where you are. hah!)

In my previous post about the new house in Connecticut, I showed you how the home we bought is a completely blank slate. We received the keys two weeks ago from this afternoon, so don’t expect any magic to have happened. In fact, it looks less like my Scandinavian + colorful  intentions, and more like a crummy apartment in need of therapy. In due time!

Continue reading “New House Project Plans”

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