Living a simple life

When my husband and I decided to move to Florida, we wanted to give ourselves a trial period of at least a year before deciding if we would make this a permanent move or not. Thus, finding a home to rent was the best option for us. Our wish list included living someplace convenient to the beach, shopping places and where we thought we might like to work. It also had to allow dogs and be budget friendly as I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on rent. All of those conditions meant we would probably end up in a home smaller than the house we own in PA. Which I was ok with.

It’s been several months since we packed all of our belongings and moved to a place almost 1/2 the size of the house we’ve called home for years. It meant making decisions on what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away. At first it was hard, but the more I simplified my possessions, the more free I felt. We still have quite a bit of our stuff in boxes, some of which hasn’t yet been sorted. But all in all, I can’t help but admit, the advantages of living in a smaller home are many!

To start, I spend considerable less time cleaning. And while I may clean more frequently - it’s much harder to hide fur balls - in a fraction of the time, I can get pretty much the entire house cleaned. This has reduced my stress so much and enabled me to spend more time on other things that matter more to me.

While we downsized, we still have too much stuff for the space. Thus, I have virtually no need to buy anything for the home. Now, I’m not a shopaholic, but I do love picking out new things every once in a while to spruce up the space we inhabit. Not spending any money, means putting more in the bank and creates another stress reducer ultimately leading to a more peaceful life.

Living in a smaller space means less energy spent on heating and cooling the place. Cha ching! Even more money in the bank! And yet another reason to be less stressed. Which leads me to the next advantage of living in a small home. I’m more aware of the amount of energy it takes to maintain a larger home, the impact it has on the environment and how unnecessary it is. We love our mansions, but much of the space in these homes is hardly ever used. Yet, we have to pay to heat and cool it, repair materials as they age, and spend time keeping it clean. That’s a lot of energy.

A huge perk of living in small home is how much more time I have to do things I really want to do. While I am working a lot - I have a full-time job, manage my pet sitting business up north and work on marketing my photography business - on my days off, I’m not trying to cram a ton of household chores into my day. I don’t feel worn out, exhausted and frustrated because all I did was “work” in my off duty hours. That right there has improved my state of mind tremendously.

As I think about the next home I want to own, I do know I’d like a little more space than I have right now. I also know I’d like an outdoor area to hang out in when the weather’s nice. Which is a whole lot often here than up north. And I want to create a home that is calm, relaxing and peaceful. I don’t want to fill up the space with “stuff” just because. I want to surround myself with things that matter to me - like art work from my travels, photos of the people in my life, and and design touches that are practical as well as pleasing to the eye.

While it was hard to downsize, I am so glad I did! I truly understand why more and more people are opting for tiny homes. For me, that is too extreme. Life should be more about experiences than responsibilities. I want to look back on my life fondly remembering all the good times I had instead of feeling regret over working so hard to own material possessions.

Thanks for reading!

xoxo

 
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man and dog on bench in front of house

Looking back on 13 years

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. I’m not superstitious, but I have decided to embrace our 13th as our lucky year! It was a pretty low keyed day since we both worked. But we did go out to dinner to a restaurant we’ve been wanting to try but always had a huge crowd. By the time we got there, it was well past normal dinner time hours and surprisingly there was a short wait. We thought it would be perfect since it was right on the intercoastal waterway. And it was, until shortly after we arrived, the sun set and we were sitting in darkness except for the lights on the tables. Even still, it was nice to spend a quiet evening together doing something other than work after work!

One of my traditions has been to bring a camera, set up my tripod and take a photo of us on or near the day of our anniversary. You’d think that with me having a camera almost everywhere we go, we’d have plenty of photos of us. The truth is, we have very few. Sure, we take the obligatory selfies whenever we do something exciting that we want to share on social media. But I’d certainly never consider them print worthy.

Since I’m always behind the camera, I’m rarely in any photos. I know one day I’ll be grateful I’ve done this. My ultimate goal is to print a book of us, through all the years of our marriage. This is us…13 years after we said “I do.”

Thanks for reading!

xoxo

 
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13th anniversary photo


Is it spring?

Life so far in the sunshine state has been fantastic! Who can complain about warm weather, abundant sunshine and frequent visits to the beach? Before I moved to Florida, I was told I would miss experiencing the 4 seasons. Since I’ve lived in Pennsylvania pretty much my whole life, I had no opinion and couldn’t agree or disagree. Now that it’s been six months and 2 seasons since my move, I can attest I now understand why people split time living south in the winter and north in the summer.

Most Floridians will tell you we have 2 seasons. I thought they meant spring and summer! But it turns out, it’s the wet and dry season. Others might say it’s tourist season and non-tourist season. But one thing is for sure, the arrival of spring isn’t quite the same in the south as it is up north. And honestly, while I didn’t miss a cold snowy winter, I do miss all the signs of spring’s arrival.

It was always exciting to see the grass come to life and turn from brown to green. I looked forward to listening to the sounds of the robins as they migrated back north. The pops of color as the crocuses and snowdrops peeked through the snow was a welcome sight. And if I could shed my winter coat, even for an afternoon, it was a great day! There’s just something magical about the earth coming alive again after being dormant for months.

Here in Florida, the grass has been green ever since we arrived in August and I don’t see any signs of that changing. We see birds every day on our walks, so there is no reminder that the wildlife has hunkered down or fled from the cold winter weather. After spending days, weeks and months cooped up indoors, it’s always a treat when we can spend some time outdoors once again without the fear of suffering from frostbite. But in Florida, with the warmer weather, it’s nice every once in a while to have a cool rainy day. Just so I can a spend an afternoon curled up on the couch with a good book or binge watch some of my favorite movies.

Do I miss the 4 seasons? Yes, without a doubt. I just wish our summers up north were longer and the winters shorter. Perhaps one day, I, too, will join the millions of folks who have become a snowbird.

Thanks for reading!
xoxo

 
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terrier mix in field of spring flowers