My Current Nomadic Lifestyle

I am on week 5 of driving around from hotel to hotel and pushing and carrying bags to each location to live out of.  I am so exhausted.  I have been trying to stay as organized as possible to keep my sanity.  It is becoming very difficult to keep everything in order and cart things around.  It is so tiring to unload and re-load the car every 2-4 days.  We do our laundry once a week on the weekends.  And as hard as I try to keep clothes neatly folded, they flop all over the suitcase when rolled out of hotels.  And we are sharing one car-it looks like we live in it.  Of course, we don’t keep any garbage in the car and keep it clean, but the bags are jammed in to the point where we just make sure we can see out of the windows to drive.

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It is honestly getting exhausting just getting ready in the morning.  The minimalist part of me is ready to just get rid of everything.  I have even been skipping my make-up routines in the mornings.  I just honestly don’t feel like opening up my bags to put on make-up and get my make-up brushes and mirror out.  I am kicking myself for having packed so much.  When we left Rhode Island, we weren’t sure when we would close on the house and have the movers come.  We still aren’t sure-but we are getting a lot closer to the move-in date now.

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I packed sweaters, scarfs, hats, gloves, boots, and especially snow boots.  Of course today it is about 70 degrees-I packed a car full of stuff and have nothing to wear for the weather today.  The irony of this situation is not lost on me.  I cannot wait to have all of my stuff in one place finally.  I am sure that once I get all of my things back, I will be overwhelmed with the amount of stuff we have.  Since I haven’t seen it in so long, I almost forgot that I had other clothes.

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This morning my husband and I packed up the car-which felt like the millionth time we have done this.  After I dropped him off at work, I rushed out to sit at a coffee shop.  I feel like I am trapped in the hotel all the time and crave to get out.  Exercising each day keeps me busy, but today, it is my birthday, and I needed a change of scenery.  I can’t wait to feel settled and organized in my new place.  I hope the end of my nomadic lifestyle is coming soon.

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Our 4th Valentines’s Day Together

This is my fourth Valentine’s Day with my husband.  But only our second Valentine’s Day as husband and wife.  Each Valentine’s Day we have celebrated differently.

Our first Valentine’s Day together in 2015, we were boyfriend and girlfriend.  I was living in Hoboken, NJ and he was living in Baltimore, MD.  On Valentine’s Day, he wrote me a beautiful card and sent it with a bouquet of flowers that were shaped like a dog.  It was so sweet!  And of course getting flowers at work is very romantic.  But, we had to wait until the weekend to celebrate together.  I took the train to his apartment in Baltimore. I brought his gift of a new sweater and a card to greet him with in Maryland.  We went to Annapolis and stayed at a Bed and Breakfast above a famous diner for Valentine’s.  We also went out to a fancy dinner in Annapolis that night.

The next year, 2016, we were engaged and living in Rhode Island together.  I wasn’t working at the time, so no work flowers that year.  Instead, we exchanged gifts.  He bought me a beautiful red dress and some tea tools from Teavana.  And, I bought him a couple new shirts for his new job.  We also went out for a nice, fancy restaurant for dinner in Providence.  This restaurant was decorated so nicely and it was very romantic.

Last year, 2017, it was our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple.  I had a job and again, he sent me the same bouquet of flowers shaped like a dog to my work-so romantic and cute!  I loved it!  He also got me a candle and some lotion.  And as usual, I bought him a new sweater (I know I am boring-I do this each year).  And then we went to our favorite restaurant-Capital Grill in Providence-yum!

This year, I don’t have a job right now-so no flowers from work.  And there is no where to keep them with our current nomadic lifestyle.  This year, we are forgoing gifts because we have no where to put them!  We are at capacity in the bags we are living out of!  So, we are doing cards today-I love cards.  And we are doing dinner tonight out.  We have never been to this restaurant before so we are excited to go.

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Pro-Valentine’s Tip:  ALWAYS give a card to your significant other.  This is when you can declare your love and affection to them.

Urban Vs. Suburban Living

Many people who grow up in suburban America all have the same life trajectory expectations or dreams if you will.  They  all dream about growing up, finding the perfect person, falling in love, getting married, moving into the suburbs in a beautiful house with a white picket fence, and then having babies.

I am on track with the beginning of the dream-I grew up, found someone special and got married.  The next part doesn’t match up-I adore living in cities, not in the suburbs.  Living in a city is AMAZING-the world is literally at your fingertips.  You can have your choice of food stores, markets, exercise studios/classes, activities, restaurants, and bars.  The possibilities are endless.

For years, my husband and I have lived in cities.  Like right IN the city.  I love city life.  I think it might be because I grew up so close to New York City, I was able to visit anytime I liked.  And NYC sets your expectations super high.  NYC is the ultimate city.  As a child I was so captivated by the excitement, the lights, and all the things to do.  Everyone seemed like they had the most thrilling lives.  After I graduated college, I couldn’t wait to move to Hoboken-which is an amazing city in and of itself.  Not to mention, it is a ten minute train ride on the PATH to Manhattan.

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When my husband and I reconnected in Dallas, we had so much fun going out to the best bars and restaurants the city had to offer.  And Dallas is an amazing city-there is so much to do, the bar scene is amazing and not to mention the delicious food.  Tex-Mex is one of my favorite types of food.  I always spend an immense amount of time visiting the best BBQ and Tex-Mex that Texas has to offer.  Even though I have to diet after my trips there, it is well worth it.

Living in Baltimore was another wonderful city.  In Baltimore, you can get any delicious food you can think of-COVERED IN CRAB.  I am talking about crab dip on top of tatter tots and crab macaroni and cheese.  This is real crab-not the imitation crab you might see in other places.  If you haven’t had it, I advise you to put it on your bucket list.  Baltimore is another amazingly fun city.  The brunches and bars are so much fun.

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Providence is a much more relaxed city than the other cities that I am used to.  There were some great places to eat-and of course the seafood is fantastic.  Federal Hill is awesome for Italian food.  This city has a lot less bar options for a young crowd.  There were some places in walking distance, but we mostly got around by car and Uber.  Not the most exciting city that we have lived in.

After all of these years living in cities, I am now venturing to the next phase of my life-which is the house and white picket fence in suburbia.  This will be my first time since growing up that I am living in a suburb.  I have to admit, I was struggling with this at first.  I was very concerned about how I would feel living in a neighborhood with NOTHING in walking distance.  Of course having more square footage in a house is amazing.  But not being able to walk to a bar or restaurant is foreign to me.  Anything that I need, I have to drive to-I have never had to do that in the past…

Goodbye Bustling City and Hello Quiet Neighborhood!  Here we goo!

What Is the Meaning of Minimalism?

Some people hear the word “minimalism” and think this is negative, there is no abundance.  Some people hear the word “minimalism” and feel free.  What does “minimalism” mean to you? Is a positive or negative word?  Is it something that you would like to have?  Or does the word make you cringe in disgust?

Since I have moved out of my apartment, I have been living out of bags.  I have 2 suitcases (1 small, 1 large), 2 large bags of shoes, 1 electronics bag, 1 make-up bag, 1 bag of scarves and hats, 1 bag of toiletries, and 1 bag of vitamins/medications.  My whole life is in 8 bags/suitcases.  I do have some clothes and jackets I am traveling with that are on hangers.  On top of that, I have my most important bag-my purse.  Carting around all of these bags is so stressful.  I know where everything is and I love that I have each bag organized by its contents.  But still, I am out of sorts.  And I am living everyday shuffling around bags.

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Being away from a home so long really makes me think about what is the purpose of carrying around all of these bags?  I am in a prison of my own belongings.  I am constantly shuffling around my bags and looking for things.  The ironic part is that I only use about 10% of of all the items I trek around with me each day.  It really makes me wonder what I am doing with all of these things.

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Today, in the hotel I am staying at, the fire drill went off.  I was napping at the time and woke up in a panic.  I quickly grabbed my sneakers, my phone, and my purse.  I left all of my 8 bags, my hanging clothes, and my husband’s two suitcases in the room.  So after carting around heavy bags for WEEKS, the only things that were actually important to me could be carried lightly in one hand.  That was a revelation for me.  If I only have a handful of important items, then why am I carting around 8 bags?

I am looking forward to getting into my new house and liberating my home by getting rid of items that don’t serve me anymore.  I always enjoy purging items (especially in my closet) to make room for the new.  But this time, I am really looking forward to letting things go that I no longer need and hopefully donating it to someone who would appreciate it.

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I feel like lately I am serving a jail sentence of carrying my things around and am anxious to find freedom from them.  Things aren’t what define us and make us happy.  I find happiness within people I love and care about and wonderful experiences that I have.  Having too much is almost as bad as having too little.  There needs to be a healthy balance.  I have watched the amazing documentary called “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things” by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus.  I felt like it was so freeing to watch Americans take control of their lives by gaining freedom from things.  Things do eventually weigh us down.  Instead of having material things, life is about keeping the items that serve us and actually living our life.  I feel that life is about the people we meet and what we do with our time, not about how many material items we can buy.  When I am old and grey, I want to remember all of the wonderful people and experiences I have enjoyed and made connections with, not the things I have owned.

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A Lonely Move

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Have you ever felt like half of you is missing when you significant other is gone?  Have you spent time counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until you can be re-united?

This is how my husband and I are handling our current move-ALONE.  Since the movers have come, my husband is finishing his work in Rhode Island, and I am spending time at my parents’ house in New Jersey.  It has been a full week since we have seen each other.  We won’t be re-united until the end of this week.

We are counting down util we can see each other again.  It is always hard to be apart, but it feels especially difficult when you are making a huge life change as a couple, but you are taking the journey on your own.  I am currently living out of suitcases, boxes, and bags of pieces of my life that aren’t in a moving truck.  And my husband is living out of suitcases in a hotel.

The closing date on our house is February 23.  We are anxiously awaiting moving into our house.  In preparation, we are going to begin getting some new things for our house. The first order of business this coming weekend is purchasing a mailbox that adheres to the guidelines of the HOA in our neighborhood.  We are going to begin budgeting for items to furnish and decorate our new house.

Since I had to quit my teaching job in Rhode Island for this move, we are currently living on one income until I get a new job.  So I really need to make sure that I am sticking with our budget to make our house warm and beautiful.

I will keep you posted on my budget as I tackle the job of making our bare house a home!

I feel happy when…

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I would love to invite bloggers to finish this statement and share a time you feepexels-photo-541518.jpegpexels-photo-208165.jpegl organized.

I will start…

I feel happy when I am able to easily access my accessories.  I am not a morning person, to get me motivated for my day, I need a large cup of coffee!   And then as I get ready for the day, I love being able to choose my outfit, shoes, purse, and jewelry easily.  I am always happy when my things are in the right place and easy to locate.  You will ALWAYS thank yourself for getting organized.  You will NEVER thank yourself when you are running around the house in the morning trying to find all of your things to start your day.  You will start your day feeling disheveled!  You feel powerful and ready to start your day when you get yourself organized and set up for success!

I can’t wait to hear your stories of when you feel happy!

 

Romance in Rome

This is my favorite story!  This is the story of how my husband and I have gotten engaged.  In November of 2014, my boyfriend and I planned a trip to visit Rome in April 2015.  I was so excited.  I had been to Europe with my parents as a child.  We had gone to Ireland, England, and Wales.  That was my only time out of the country-I was not what some would call a world traveler, but, my boyfriend at the time was quite the traveler.  He had traveled a lot growing up and continued through his adult life.  He had been all around Italy, and many other European countries.  Not only had he visited parts of Italy like Florence, Venice, and Rome, but he actually lived in Rome when he studied abroad for a semester at Penn State.  I was thrilled to be going with my own personal tour guide.

First thing was first, we had to get the time off of work and book the plane tickets.  We were living separately in two different states at the time, so this was a bit tricky to work out.  Once that was figured out, we had to then research where we would stay.  We decided to get an Air B&B right in the center of Rome in the Campi de Fiori area.  This trip was a dream for me.  As the trip got closer, the more anxious and excited I got to see Rome for the first time!

As soon as our flight touched down and we got into Rome, I was in awe.  It was the most beautiful place I had ever seen.  As soon as we got into our Air B & B, we threw our suitcases down and immediately went to see the amazing morning markets and walk around the cobblestone streets.  That day it was raining and I remember going back with my boyfriend to the Air B & B to change before dinner.  We were exhausted from the jet lag, but so excited to be in Italy.  I couldn’t wait to see everything!  We walked out of the place we were staying in the rain, it was dreary and cold, but I was too happy to care.  We stopped to look through the Aventine Keyhole which gives you the most amazing view of the Vatican.  There was a long line to see this.  After, we continued walking until we got to this beautiful orange garden (Parco Savello).  It such a beautiful garden that gives you a less touristy feel.  It provides the most wonderful panoramic view of Rome including the Vatican.  I was overwhelmed, then when my boyfriend got on one knee, I was blown away.  I was in shock and will never be able to remember what he said, but I remember saying “yes.”  It was so romantic, we were in Italy looking over Rome and I had my fiance and a ring-life couldn’t get much better.  He even snuck a bottle of champagne and some glasses for us.  We were literally on top of the world-this was the best moment of my life.  It was just him and I.

After having our time alone enjoying each others’ company, we were ready to have dinner and celebrate.  We also took a bit of time to get on wi-fi at a bar to connect with Viber and our family and friends in the states.  I had to call my mom and my future mother-in-law of course!

The rest of the trip was filled with bliss, romance, and of course the beauty that is Rome.  We were there for a full week and got to explore everything there was to see.  This was the hardest trip to end, we weren’t looking forward to going home.  But, we have been lucky to continue to take many adventurous trips since then!

Enoteca Umberto

This is arguably the best restaurant that my husband and I have been to.  It was also the most fun we have had at a restaurant.  This restaurant is in Providence, Rhode Island on Federal Hill (for those of you who don’t know what this means-it is the Little Italy of Rhode Island).  There is outstanding Italian restaurants, delis, and food stores here.  My husband and I have been waiting months to get into this special restaurant.  It is tiny-there are FIVE tables only inside.  When I walked in, I felt like I was in Italy-which is very comforting to me.  The restaurant staff spoke to each other in Italian and to the customers in English.  The kitchen was open and the entire family was working.  The owner was so warm and friendly.  The most amazing part of this restaurant is-THERE IS NO MENU.  The owner will ask you about what you “don’t” eat.  We had 6 courses (including dessert)!  Each course got better and better.  There is just enough to share on each plate.  We had delicious mozzarella cheese with pesto, antipasto, pasta, and fish!  This isn’t including the amazing pannetone dessert.  The owner described each and every dish-some of the recipes were his mother’s.  Not only was it so warm and cozy inside.  But they will NOT rush you through dinner.  From start to finish was about 2 hours-what a wonderful experience!  I highly recommend this hidden gem of a restaurant.  It is a must-do if you visit Rhode Island!

My Mail Moving Mess

Figuring out what to do with mail when you are moving is a nightmare.  In the past, I have been able to put a short hold on it, or forward it all to my new address.  But, this move I am in a unique situation because we are leaving so soon and our house won’t be ready until the end of February.  So, I figured out the hard way what to do in this situation.

We thought we would be able to forward our mail to our house, but there is no mailbox there yet.  So then we thought, we could get a P.O.Box in Pennsylvania, but right now we are in Rhode Island and have to be there in person to get a P.O.Box.  So, we were toying with the idea of forwarding our mail to my parents’ house in New Jersey since we will be spending some time there between the hotel stays in the next month.  But, legally, I still have my maiden name and when we move, this could confuse the post office and my parents’ mail may be forwarded to Pennsylvania.

So, my husband and I decided to put a hold on our mail here this week and my husband will pick it up at the local Rhode Island Post Office when he is done working here at the end of January.  Meanwhile, I will get us a P.O.Box in New Jersey for the month of February, so when I visit my parents on the weekend, I can pick up my mail.  From here, I will get my mail forwarded to our new house.  Phew-I am exhausted thinking about the mail!

My best advice is if you can’t get your mail forwarded to your new address right away, set-up a P.O. Box that you can access during the interim.  

 

 

Moving When You’re Engaged

 

So once my husband and I were engaged and settled into our cozy one-bedroom townhouse in Baltimore, we got the wonderful news that he was getting a promotion and we would be moving to Rhode Island in less than a month!  We were very excited for our new adventure!  But to be honest, moving jobs and states while planning a wedding can get VERY stressful.  There were so many life changes going on at one time.  It was hard to think straight.  I was quitting my job and moving to a brand new place where I had no job-which again meant living and planning a wedding on ONE budget.  AHHH!  Not the best time to go down to just one income.  Once we moved to Rhode Island, I was able to live off of my savings to help with everyday living costs and wedding costs.  I was also able to substitute teach which was gave me a tiny bit of money.  We were also able to save money by eating in a lot and I exercised at our apartment (no gym membership).  I also didn’t shop AT ALL besides for wedding essentials.

Luckily, I got a full-time teaching job for the following year.  I was able to meet friends through my work.  My husband’s friends moved to Rhode Island and we met friends with them.  We also joined hot yoga together-my husband eventually stopped because he travels so much for work.  But between hot yoga and friends I have met along the way, we haven’t been bored at all.  And not to mention the traveling, my husband and I love to travel together.

Great tip for people who are single or in a relationship-bringing a dog to the dog park will get you friends in your new area very quickly!