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What’s up, Buttercup

What the hell have we been up to? Life is treating us well in sunny San Diego, CA.

Photo: Sunset Cliffs Natural Reserve

✅In 2017, I graduated from yoga teacher training at Hapa Yoga

✅Josh is honoring his green thumb and earthmind, working in landscaping and design in our local area 👨🏽‍🌾

✅We are renting a kickass house with 3 roommates! Our homestead compound is fulfilling and complete. Sadly, Historical San Diego is drastically changing and many old homes are being torn down and developed into skyrise nightmares (see construction behind fence 😓) we are enjoying our time renting this rich, energetic home while we can 🙏

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Winston, Oregon

My how time flies! For the past two weeks, we have been enjoying family time in Winston, Oregon. Our summer days have been filled with beautiful weather, recovery from a month of hiking, and of course a little maintenance on Darlene. 



Tomorrow, we head to Portland! We are excited to be in a big city again, not to mention quality time with Josh’s sista. We would love any suggestions/recommendations for the PNW area. 

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Trailer Perks

  

 We love Mono Vista RV park! We will most definitely be staying here again. If you’re getting ready to travel, here’s everything you’ll ever need to know about us/the park/our trip/random shit:
When we do longer trips, we typically like to start completely off-grid (like the desert). We start clean, showered, full tanks of water, gas, propane and food. Parking off grid is cheap, if not free. We save money and disconnect, whether free BLM land or $12/a night-type fees. We roam off-grid until supplies are low. Then, when we start running low, we get ‘fancy’. And by fancy, we mean trailer parks. Hook up, water, toilets, showers, laundry, trash, the good life! It’s a good routine to sustain a long road trip. Initially, we were scared of trailer parks (who isn’t?). Regardless of ill-informed opinions and assumptions about trailer parks, the reality of them is that you are VERY close to your neighbors. That is frightening for us! Who likes people, anyway? 😉 However, having a trailer is like a secret closet to NARNIA that no one knows about until they experience it, I kid you not.
You think your incense is too smelly, your dinner is too potent, your voices are too loud, your music has too much base, but the reality is….RVs and trailers keep everything tame! It’s tent camping that gets rowdy 🙂 and we’ve all done it. But with Darlene, We were never woken up by noise, neighbors, etc. the trailer really insulates us and if we didn’t know it, we’d think we were still parked in the driveway at home!  We have learned that overall, likeminded people congregate in the same places. Finding a state or national park to share with other people can be easy and seamless, unless you’re that ‘one guy’. It can be communal and exciting. We have already met awesome people and learned so much!!!! The majority of our neighbors are retired, snow birds or both. We have seen tons of pets (mainly dogs and cats), as well as inspiring ways to make pets comfy. Trailer parks seem to have a strong vibe, and you can tell right away by who works at the front desk. Mono vista RV park provided us with 72 hours of joy for under $100. We did three loads of laundry, had hot showers, had a pretty nice view and were right in the heart of beautiful Lee Vining. We picked the park based off Josh’s parents’ recommendation, and we are now relaying it to you! Everyone was nice and helpful. People smiled, which i find noteworthy. For laundry, I recommend always having a stash of quarters. Many people bitch and complain that laundry can get pricey ($3-$5 a load), but honestly that’s a price we are willing to pay for clean clothes. We used to be one of those complainers in apartment living. But, our clothes are dirty and disgusting….$10 in quarters is ‘pocket change’ when on the road! If you want to save $$, many trailer/RV suppliers have clothing-line methods for clothes and linens. We are currently shopping for one (La Mesa RV) that clips onto our outdoor ladder rung and carries 50lbs of wet clothes. It stays mounted on the trailer for travel (take the clothes off before you leave, duh). If you don’t mind wrinkles, pollen and a little sun-bleaching during warmer months, then a clothes line is the way to go! We can’t wait to get ours. To adorn this gorgeous trailer park post, here’s some pictures of a beautiful hike we did while staying at Mono Vista. Parker Lake was a little over 4 miles, filled with breathtaking views, fish, snow, giant paw prints and beaver-chewed logs. We dug it: 

   
    
 
   
   
   
 
We’d love to hear your trailer park recommendations, especially in Northern California, Oregon, and the Nevada-side of Tahoe! 

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Internuts

Internuts

With a homestead as an end-goal and freedom as our leader, Josh and I always thought we would stay off the grid. We’ve never owned cable, we loved not having Facebook for over 3 years, and we are horrible texters. My phone is always on silent, distant and ignored…and we like it that way. But! Internet is a great tool. With our online business, and long distance from loved ones, we knew Internet was in our future. So, in addition to solar panels, we will also have a pretty good internet connection! The local internet company has us approved and optimistic, but our posts and updates will come sparingly until then. 
Our refrigerator currently runs on propane. It will be on solar soon enough, but until then, we have been having a bit of trouble with the pilot light staying lit. The flame, which is located outside of the trailer, somehow blows itself out. Air bubbles in the propane, gusts of wind, uneven terrain, temperature and altitude all affect the fridge, but we can’t seem to pinpoint which of these factors make our light go out. However, the fridge is well insulated and we haven’t had any rotting food during power-outs (probably because we are so diligent about checking it!) we also eat predominately room-temp food: fruits veggies rice beans bread tortillas snacks snacks snacks 
The worst part about the fridge? Lighting the pilot light is a two-man job. There is about a 20 second window between turning on the pilot light switch (in the trailer, above the fridge) and RUNNING outside, around the trailer because the door is on the opposite side, light the pilot light (battling wind, cold, rain, darkness) and hope it works! So, I stand in the kitchen and Josh lights the fridge, but it’s annoying. We knock and yell and constantly go through BBQ lighters. One night, Josh noticed the light was out when he got up at a cold, dark, ungodly hour. He tried three times to light it without waking me up (aww), but running a marathon out of the trailer typically causes some movement 😂! I woke up laughing so hard (probably not the best response), and we got it going. We are looking forward to solar!!! 
In the meantime, I thought I’d share some pictures of our trip to the tufas! I’m seriously obsessed- we joined the committee, I got a bumper sticker, we bought matching t shirts: it’s serious. Here are some magical pictures we took at the state park. It was $3 per person (self-pay station), and we went at sunset PER recommendation of our studies. (Oh yes, we have maps, books, lists and highlighters aplenty) It was hands- down one of the most beautiful places I have ever been! It would have been perfect, but my blood sugar got low towards the end and our trip was cut short. Nowadays, after a low, I am so WIPED out! We had been hiking all day and it was dinner time. Diabetic gypsy isn’t easy y’all!

 Next time we go to Mono lake, we are going to see the tufas at sunrise! This place is a MUST for your California bucket list. I can’t help but make correlations to the rock formation of my sleeve (Houses of the Holy, Giants’s Causeway) and the tufa. I’m sure it’s the porosity of the rocks, but I really think it’s the magical NARNIA affect that the lake has. 
   
    
    
   
   
 
And lastly, we are in the land of Dutch Mafia now. First time back in 6 months and we were called regulars! We feel pretty damn cool. Kelli is off to SD for two weeks, and Josh is keeping Darlene warm (and probably sweeping 57314 beads and feathers from out underneath the dinette- sorry baby!) 

   
 

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El Baño Especial

One of the last major tasks we completed on the trailer was the bathroom remodel. Overall, it was in pretty decent shape when we purchased Darlene, but the shower and tub had some minor cracks and it was all a in yellow parchment color that looked like someone had been smoking in that bathroom for decades. Kelli and I researched how much everything would be to replace, and decided that a new bathroom would be within our budget.

We decided to replace the tub, the shower surround (the plastic three-sided wall), the skirt (the little piece on the face of the tub), the shower head and the shower faucet. We also picked up a new medicine cabinet at Home Depot which gave us way more bathroom storage space.

Here are some before and after pictures:

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While we accomplished so much in the bathroom, it is also our room that still needs a lot of attention. The rot in the ceiling (above the shower) still needs to be fixed. Aesthetically, it’s an eyesore. However, the mold and broken plastic has been cleared and is ready to be patched.

As for a shower curtain, Kelli found a regular window curtain that matched our blood-red walls and added a plastic liner to the back. Our walls were not initially red. Kelli painted the cabinet Ottertail (bedroom cabinet color) and Mesa Taupe for the bathroom walls (kitchen cabinet color). Two neutral browns, who would have thought they would look like vomit? So, we bought a red Behr paint sample in Chipotle paste. The walls took 3 coats and the white cabinet took 4-5. White was a nightmare! Luckily, the bathroom is microscopic. It is really hard to take a picture!

Behind the toilet, we have stuck 3 adhesive mirrors on the wall. (12″x12″ Ikea Mirrors). These are not recommended for bathrooms or moist surfaces, but we are taking a walk on the wild side and going for it.

The amazing golden lion head knobs are from Josh’s childhood desk. The desk was beautiful and clunky, but during our downsize we had to get rid of it. The knobs still remain!

The bathroom door (front) is painted black with chalkboard paint. However, the white chalk marker that was for sale directly NEXT to the paint was a white marker for BLACK whiteboards. Not chalkboards- confused yet? Me too. So, the lyrics Kelli wrote on the front of the door are permanent. We want to repaint the door, front and back. The backside of the door is still plain wood. When shut and inside, the door is the biggest empty wall space that we have when inside of the bathroom. Let that soak in for a bit! #tinyliving

The toilet is fully functional and hideous. But, who wants to replace a toilet? Not us, if it works! So, we are going to keep using our current plumbing until it craps out. HA. Our one toilet complaint? We wish we had a foot-pedal for flushing. We have a lever on the side of the toilet, which requires putting your face in arms-reach of the toilet bowl. When we order a new one in the future, we want a foot pedal and white coloring to match the shower!

The floor: We did not put laminate floor in the bathroom for a lot of reasons. We want to replace the toilet eventually, and putting in floor before the toilet installation would be ideal. Cutting the floor to fit the current, round base toilet would have been cumbersome and most likely non-functional. Kelli is going to paint the floor instead (using stencils to create a mandala pattern). In the meantime, the 2 inches of floor space are covered in bathmats.

And finally, the sink. Originally parchment yellow, Kelli just completely painted over it with white paint. Not meant for sinks, not water proof, not shiny, just white paint. Why not? It looks great and cleans easy. We still need to replace the faucet. Faucets are expensive- but are excellent water savers. When we can afford to replace our two faucets (kitchen and bath) we will explain more!

So, more pics to come! We hope to have the bathroom dialed in this summer. The shower works amazingly and gets the job done, which is all we could really ask for! If you need help remodeling your trailer bathroom, don’t call us.

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Woodworks

Yo I know it’s been far too long since our last post, but we have been busy bees and finally hit the road to live the gypsy life. Before we fill y’all in on our latest and greatest adventures, we’re going to finish up our posts regarding the trailer remodel.

The original floors of the trailer were an ugly white vinyl that definitely had to go. We first thought about painting over them, which probably would have been easier, but we decided to put in hardwood floors instead. There’s all kinds of different flooring to choose from. We went with free-floating panels that stuck together, (kind of like a puzzle!), with an adhesive strip. It only took Josh about two days of work to finish the entire trailer! The panels were super easy to install and kind of fun too! Only word of advice we have for you: Measure twice, cut once!
The only things that we used to install the floors: measuring tape, straight edge, exacto knife, and a pencil. No power tools required, which was a plus for us.

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In addition to the (fake) wood floors, Kelli and I also built a wooden desk and a new wooden table top made out of pine wood. We are very pleased with the outcome! They still need some staining and finishing but they are already fully functional 🙂 The stain that we used on the table is in espresso; we plan on staining the desk and a few other oddities with the same stain. As you can tell from previous photos, we also painted the refrigerator black. (It was previously wallpapered with a fake wood decal- gross). Kelli bought a sample of black Behr paint (only $2.99) for the project, and we had enough left over to paint a few other things. We highly recommend buying paint samples and small quantities of paint. We have TOO MUCH PAINT. Does anyone love our colors? We’d love to trade ya. We have an almost entire gallon of Juniper Ivy, which is the blue color in the kitchen. Kelli would love to paint and refurbish a beachy/retro dresser with the paint, but time and space aren’t on our side for quite some time.

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Josh’s Table

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Kelli’s Desk

Since the remodel, we have broken Darlene in over three different places: Anza-Borrego, Death Valley, and Lee Vining. We can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on!

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Trailer Privacy

Having a tiny home require extra measures to create space and privacy for those who occupy it. Thank goodness Darlene came with a frequent reminder of this alone time, especially when in the bathroom:


Needless to say, I scraped the sticker off. One of the quirkiest things about our trailer was the incessant amount of safety signs! There was red signage all over the trailer- emergency exit stickers, ‘caution-hot!’ reminders…I took down more than 10. I am having a hard time grasping the thought of the previous owners keeping those safety stickers for almost 20 years! But the bathroom door takes the cake. Privacy in a 3×5 foot triangular bathroom is important; not sure we will need signage as a reminder.

We decided to make the bathroom door a chalkboard wall! The chalkboard will be visible upon entry in the trailer; our bathroom door is really the transition wall from the kitchen to the storage room . The inside of the door will have adhesive mirrors from ikea. (Can’t fall off! That shit is sticky) That way, when the door is open, we have a full length mirror that we can use from the ‘kitchen’ area. It was tough only having 2 ill-placed mirrors before the remodel. One was the medicine cabinet, which was hung low (nice boobs)! and the other mirror hung in the dinette. This offers two great options: watching yourself eat *cringe* or checking out your crotch while standing. Yeah, I need a longer mirror than that!


Here’s a few before and afters to make your heart sing!  

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Futon Revolution 

Darlene came equipped with a stunning teal, velvety futon with broken springs and some attitude. We actually planned on keeping the futon, but when we went to primer paint, we realized the futon was a big pain in the ass. It was nice to have the option of a sleeping area- the futon was the most comfy spot for guests, but overall it was a waste of space. Storage was limited due to the hinge placement, and access to our heater was dusty and dark. We decided a day-bed inspired bench would be perfect. Eventually, we will create a desk area against the window wall so that we have an ‘office’. Dave and Josh did an amazing job!

(I made some aesthetic changes to the site today; per recommendation from Lydia, you can now subscribe to our posts!!! Bottom left corner of the blog allows you to receive updates when we post blogs. Enter if you dare!)




  
I initially thought I’d paint the lids taupe, alongside the cabinetry, but I love the quirky ‘December 22’ stamping. My ma had a great idea: use old belts as handle straps!!! In the past, my mom and I repurposed old leather belts as scraps for Josh and I’s wedding center pieces and bridal bouquets. I found the PERFECT BELT FOR OUR handles, I can’t wait to show you all!

And finally, we decided to take out an extra appliance. Can you guess what we took out for extra storage?


Next posts to expect from us:

Laminate flooring

Storage room transformation

Bathroom installation

Decoration inspo

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Shaken Money Makers

A few weeks ago, I posted some estimates for our bathroom remodel in the following blog post:
http://cordercollective.com/2016/01/14/shower-power/
There, I estimated that our repairs would cost $650. Our total? $605! So far we are under budget.

We did a lot of price comparison before ordering our shower parts. Unfortunately, there is only one company (Lyons) that makes the replacement parts that we need, so our comparisons weren’t over color, shelving, aesthetics, etc (sad Kelli). Our only options were really white or parchment! We went with white, seeing as our ‘parchment’ trailer has faded and cracked into yellow oblivion (yuck). We researched and found our shower wall at four different websites, with prices ranging from $177 to $404! What a huge range for the same product! Amazon cost the most, a whopping $404 for a piece of plastic wall that measures 36″24″62″. However, they had free shipping. Dyers online, where we thought we would order our parts because their shower was only $177, had a $150 freight shipping fee! Josh and I’s jaw dropped when we went to check out, finally ready to order, and shipping was astronomical. What do we recommend? Going to your local RV store and ordering through them! All of our parts have been ordered from La Mesa RV, where we paid a measly $5 to have our parts shipped to their Convoy location (only a few miles from Darlene!). We saved a ton of money, not to mention the trouble of having to deal with a freight shipment. Sighs of relief all around! our shower wall and tub apron were available next-day; our tub is taking 4-5 days to ship. If we would have ordered our parts online, we would have been waiting for 7-21 days for our bathroom to arrive! But, by visiting LA Mesa RV, we were able to talk to our favorite La Mesa RV employee in person, price check against their matrix, and La Mesa matched the lowest price they could find if their quote wasn’t the cheapest out there. It was a huge relief for both of us.

With that being said and done…

our roof is also complete! Josh has been tediously working on the roof for the past few weeks: scraping off nasty mold, caulking, sealing, etc. While we may be rookies in the remodel department, we went with our gut when it came to our leaky roof. Most blogs, youtube videos, and people we spoke to thought that our eternabond AND caulking combo on the roof was overkill. While it may have been time consuming (and disgusting) for Josh, it was an inexpensive fix. After fixing the rotting wooden step at our entrance due to a leak, and with our upcoming bathroom repairs due to MORE leaks, we think our overkill is a good thing. Leaks suck, mold is dangerous, and this is our home. We never want to rip out the floor or ceiling again, not if we can prevent it! Since Darlene is stripped and empty, we are taking advantage and doing all preventative care while we can. Here are some of the fruits of Josh’s labor: