Airstream Update 4: Light at the end of the tunnel

Today, I’m drafting up this post from inside the Airstream, which is a testament to its slowly improving comfort level.

Progress overall seems to be coming in leaps and bounds now, which I owe so much of to my dad and Mason. They have been pouring almost all of their free time to building our kitchen counter, and soon, the dinette/bed arrangement. Even the floor will be in any day now – a moment that will finally make it feel more like a home and less like a construction zone. After that, it’s just curtains and cushions and the move-in process will begin!

Retrofitting around the original plumbing, wiring, and appliances makes things move at a snail’s pace, but it also makes me feel like we’re keeping the original character of what the Airstream was – and now gets to continue to be.

Everyone, I’ve learned, has differing standards and limits when it comes to renovating a vintage Airstream. Mine was that I needed to cover up the brown veneer cabinets and yellow vinyl walls with a fresh white. Mason would’ve been fine with keeping them as they were, and surprisingly, I did start to miss the brown. So now we are incorporating reclaimed bead board from my great-great grandparents house – bringing back some earthiness while also bringing in sentimental value.

There are many people who decide to completely start from scratch and gut their trailer. Hence, no renovated Airstream truly ever looks the same. I think that’s part of the reason  Airstream renos are so fun to follow. It’s always interesting to see other people’s solutions and approaches to shared challenges. In many ways, they become reflections of the people that take them on. Sometimes, I wonder what our Airstream says about us…

Probably that I’m too sentimental, perhaps even a bit eccentric and stubborn in my approach to keep almost everything in tact. Yet, I think deep down I always knew it was important for me to feel like we were restoring her rather than wiping away her past. Don’t get me wrong, when you look inside our new counter to see the lengths my dad had to go to to keep all the plumbing fixtures in tact, you’d think we are crazy.

Exhibit A- the jigsaw insides of our counter 😬

Why in the world didn’t we just gut it? Isn’t that what a sane person would do? It certainly would’ve made things much simpler.

And yet, every time I’ve banged my head on the front rolling tombour cabinet, or got paint in my hair from trying to paint an inch of space behind the oven, or found all the spots where we inevitably didn’t do a great job painting — all the complaining I’ve done — has made me incredibly fond of every.single.millimeter. of our aluminum bean.

Despite all those silly tears I’ve shed, I value the growing spurts its given me, M, and our relationship. It embodies all of our wildest dreams. Reminding us that, yes, no matter how unconventional or difficult something may seem, it’s possible if you have the will and the heart for it.

That’s a realization I wish I could give to every person I meet.

 “Now so much I know, that things just don’t grow if you don’t bless them with your patience.” ~Emmylou, First Aid Kit

This little place we are creating has been touched and toiled over by so many special people, I can’t even begin to imagine the moments we will share together in the future. It’s really teaching us the meaning of home, every last rivet of it.

Airstream Update 3: lessons in patience

Two days ago, we finished painting the entire Airstream white (except for the blue backsplash in the bathroom). I really didn’t think it would be such a long process since it’s only a 200 sq foot space, but since we kept most of the cabinetry and appliances it took a lot of patience to do a good job cutting in. There were some pretty pesky corners that were hard to get to, which resulted in me doing some “finger” painting because a brush wouldn’t fit. We were wishing for a spray gun when it was all said and done.

Let’s see what we’ve been able to cross off the list so far!

  • Finish painting the bathroom (so close!!)
  • Install Precision Temp hot water heater
    This heater made us have to do some serious retro-fitting that we definitely didn’t foresee. I’m thinking the splurge on this will be worth it though!
  • Finish sealing exterior — this is a constant work in progress since we keep finding leaks after every good rain. Which makes sense because we haven’t had a chance to seal all the seams on the exterior. I know M will be wanting to get on this pronto.
  • Remove the galley (kitchen) counter
  • Paint the rest of the interior That is the most satisfying cross out to date!!
  • Evaluate the furnace This turned into M convincing me that we should invest in a new furnace. I really wanted a new oven to go in that space, but if we ever want to travel north this will probably be a blessing.
  • Order & install bamboo floors. We haven’t installed the floors yet because we were painting EVERYTHING, but we did decide to go with hard laminate instead. We couldn’t pass up the steal of a sale going on at Lowe’s.
  • Replace the axles
  • Replace the galley (we have decided to use outside help for this bit– so excited about the future butcher block counter!)
  • Build the front sleeping area
  • Curtains/Cushions
  • Polish and shine the exterior for that wow-factor reflection😉
  • Buy and install new awning
  • Happy little finishing touches here and there, plus adventures on the road

We only have a handful of things to do now until we move in, which has definitely boosted my motivation. Based on other reno stories, I was sure we could finish in 3-4 months. That hasn’t been the case. Working full-time and maintaining some sanity means we don’t go out as often as some people probably would. As much as I would love to push myself harder to get things wrapped up, it would put too much stress on us right now. With the wedding in less than three months and me starting a completely new career– transitioning from writing to library science– I would’ve been a walking nightmare if we tried to rush this project on top of it all.

Regardless of being six months in, the finish line feels so much closer. We truly can’t complain. (Except for my hair, my hair is very happy that the painting process is over. I should’ve invested in a shower cap!)

This morning I was contemplating the positives of the Airstream, because it’s so easy to focus on the stress it’s causing currently. While there are so many that I list out all the time, the one thing I’ve been focusing on most are the stories.

The story of how we built this little home together just months before we got married, knowing that we truly are on the same team. Thinking about the adventures we can take our niece and nephew on someday.

I try and reflect on the little moments of this process, like jamming out to “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba while we paint (because it’s certainly knocked me down quite a few times 😉 ). Laughing at my impatience with, well, everything. If anything, this project will have hopefully taught me patience, and that the greatest victories are in the smallest things.

Now it’s time to settle down for the holidays and help M get over a cold. Until next time, here’s photos of our progress. As always, thanks for following along.



Below are photos sans before shots. I’m waiting to do those for when we have a more completed finished product. I’m probably going to do a post dedicated entirely to the bathroom because that space has transformed the most (and had the scariest before shot in my opinion!). So stay tuned!

Simple doesn’t mean easy.

Since June, we’ve spent all our time, money, and energy towards our future home in a 31 foot aluminum trailer. There are days that sounds like the adventure of a lifetime and other days it sounds completely absurd.

Despite planning our wedding five months from now, M spraining his ankle, me getting sick, and other small life distractions, the most challenging hurdle for me to overcome is the acceptance of this lifestyle we are jumping into. But, not in the way you think.

I’ve thought many times to do this process quietly. To take it in and be in the moment, truly absorbing the journey and shutting out the rest of the world– to go offline, rid myself of the noise.

You see, what we are doing isn’t novel. In fact, it’s almost turning into a cliché. Most of the people I follow on Instagram now are full-time Airstreamers and RVers, travelers and explorers. They have beautiful feeds of that ideal, free lifestyle. For that thing we think we are all searching for. While I tell myself I’m following them for ideas and insight, I too have been sucked into the draw of how much greener their side of the world seems. A side we can’t seem to get to fast enough. It can be an unnecessary pull of energy from the moment we’ve been given.

But you see, we are all the same. They had hiccups getting to where they are. Days when they probably looked around and wondered why they started. Some are open in sharing these “not so good” moments and some just seem like pixie fairies with no bad days.

We aren’t the pixie fairies. We are the 25-year old and 27-year-old that were struggling to get to the next step in our lives, those stereotypical millennials living at home to save money after college, struggling to get a foothold.

That’s why we chose the Airstream. Yes it sounded and looked glamorous from all the blogs, forums and Instagram accounts, but we also had those late night conversations that picked apart whether we were really up for the task. It wasn’t an off hand decision.In fact, we were pretty apprehensive in many ways.

The point is, no matter how much I devote my life to simple, it doesn’t always mean things feel simple. Yesterday, I primed almost all of the rest of the Airstream and wanted to cry at the end because it didn’t look the way I thought it should. The cabinets I put the second coat of white paint on still looked off because, come to find out, I bought the wrong paint. It didn’t feel simple or fun or even OK. But then I came home to M and ate pizza and watched Netflix and I remembered that it is all simple.

Before primer

After primer… the next coat after this will make me feel much better!

Simple doesn’t mean easy. It means you take every moment as it comes and you cherish it as it is, free of expectations. It just is, and just is can be pretty darn magical 100% of the time if you let it.

This is why I’m sharing our renovation story, despite the fact that more people have followed this blog than ever before making me feel super guilty when I don’t post weekly updates (even though there’s not much to update on). Despite the fact that it’s a trend and makes me compare our middle to someone else’s gorgeous finished project. I’m sharing because it’s our life right now. We can’t always make it pretty and tied up with a bow, or at least it isn’t our desire to try, and hopefully some people will find it easier to connect to.

We aren’t designers or cabinet makers or architects. I’m a writer and M only knows the basics of construction. We’re just learning as we go and fortunate enough to be in a place where we have the ability to take the time to learn. We are skimping and saving and trying not to cut corners. When it’s all said and done we want a home that can move with our jobs and save us enough to pay off student loans . And yes, hopefully we’ll get to go on some wonderful adventures in between.

So for any of you taking on a project like this or contemplating it, take this kernel from  Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic (which I highly recommend):

that every single pursuit—no matter how wonderful and exciting and glamorous it may initially seem—comes with its own brand of shit sandwich, its own lousy side effects… if you love and want something enough—whatever it is—then you don’t really mind eating the shit sandwich that comes with it.

No one said it was going to be easy, but they didn’t say it wouldn’t be worth it. Have a happy Sunday!

And in case this was all a little too deep, we get to pick out our butcher block counter top today and I’m pretty excited about it 😉 Keep on keepin on!

Airstream Update #2

Life of renovation in a few words:

Fire ant bites, waiting for paint to dry, and the never-ending sealing adventure

The unabridged version:

Since the last update, we’ve made quite a bit of headway despite busy schedules, illness, and yes, even fire ants. Despite a swollen ankle that I had to keep elevated for 2-3 days (what is this ridiculousness??), we have been soaring through our to-do list.

So far:

  • Major leaks from rain- sealed
  • Brakes- fixed (serious kudos to M for this!)
  • Bathroom-almost finished with the painting

Can’t wait to post the the final look!

  • Hot water heater- ready for installation (this is our biggest splurge item on the Airstream, fingers crossed it was worth it!)

We are going to have to do some handy work to get the hot water heater to fit right. Gotta love all those curves 😉

  • More sealing of the exterior- never ending
  • A/C and Thermostat- up and running (hallelujah for A/C in August)

Mason’s Version of Completed Tasks

We calculated that a conservative estimate of doing all of these was about 54 hours- which doesn’t include all the research and planning that precedes everything we do

Since our plan was never a huge overhaul of the Airstream, but more of a “let’s do the best with what we have and keep it as original as possible,” we’ve had to do a lot of problem solving and compromising. However, I feel like this is enabling us to keep a lot of the fun, retro character of our Dream Stream. Keeping the vinyl walls means that we are dealing with a really tacky (as in sticky to the touch) surface that needs to be primed and painted white. The best thing we’ve found so far is to wipe the walls down with soap the best we can (I’ve given up on using bleach, extreme heat + extreme chemical smell = me feeling like I was slowly poisoning myself). After an initial rinsing and wiping, we cleaned the walls with liquid TSP which seems to prep the surface well enough for just one coat of primer and two coats of the white paint. Though to be honest, only time will probably tell. The issue we have run into the most is that where we use painter’s tape, the paint often comes up when it comes time to remove it. We think it’s because the paint wasn’t dry enough (again, it has been pretty darn hot), so we are learning to be more patient. We also just have to make sure we’ve gotten rid of most of the stickiness on the walls, which is a bit of a challenge. We are also considering using as little painter’s tape as possible to cut down on the risk of this occurring again.

Our current to-do list moving forward:

  • Finish painting the bathroom (so close!!)
  • Install Precision Temp hot water heater
  • Finish sealing exterior
  • Remove the galley (kitchen) counter
  • Paint the rest of the interior
  • Evaluate the furnace
  • Order & install bamboo floors
  • Replace the axles
  • Replace the galley (we have decided to use outside help for this bit– so excited about the future butcher block counter!)
  • Build the front sleeping area
  • Curtains/Cushions
  • Polish and shine the exterior for that wow-factor reflection 😉
  • Buy and install new awning
  • Happy little finishing touches here and there, plus adventures on the road

We have our moments when we visit friends and family in their apartments and homes and wonder what in the world we got ourselves into. We literally could’ve put a down payment on a small home by now, but we’re still so, so excited that we’ve chosen this journey. We’re at a time in our lives where there aren’t a whole lot of knowns or givens, and it’s nice to know that this little home can follow us wherever our future leads– in fact, it can take us wherever we need to go. That’s an incredibly reassuring thought at the end of the day. It isn’t holding us down. If anything, it inspires us to always keep moving forward.

For regular updates, feel free to follow our shenanigans on Instagram!

In Search of Simpler Times

It’s funny how in a couple of generations things can be forgotten, lost in time.

Traditions, places, faces.

Yet, when revisiting them it reawakens something we’ve never really lost.

The first time I visited far west Texas, I was sixteen. I wasn’t truly present to the family road trip, but I do remember the crisp air and the cool summer nights,the vistas and endless horizon, and the mountains sprawling like a distant memory.

Fast forward nine years. This time I was listening. This time, I touched link after link of connections to a time before myself. Somehow, this place felt ingrained into me from childhood stories and people I hazily remember.


A ranch near Marathon, TX.

On our trip we found the ranch my great-grandparents lived and worked on. Their ranch house happened to sit within viewing distance of the mansion facade for the movie set of the Giant. From the road, you can see a few lonely timbers still standing.

Here, my dad reminisced at the general supply store- Livingston’s- where he bought his first cowboy hat. We explored the Marfa Cemetery and found my great-great grandmother Maggie’s resting place. Come to find out, her great-great-great-granddaughter would share her birthday 137 years later. Yet another link that made me feel happy. Happy that a part of her would live on, even if it was just me telling my niece in the future that she shared in such an expansive family past.


On the side of a mountain between Ft.Davis and Marfa, I sat eating chuckwagon-inspired food at Bloys Campmeeting, where generations of my family have gathered for a little over a century.  My father talked about the camp meeting with such vivid childhood memories. The strangest part was as we sat eating, we sat as outsiders. My dad’s history the only window at which we could peek into this family heritage. I felt like I could know these people, I should’ve perhaps in a different life, but I didn’t. So we enjoyed our dutch oven biscuits and bbq brisket, were grateful, and left for our Airbnb in Ft. Davis.



This past weekend was my grandmother’s birthday. Once again, I felt myself steeped in strong memories. This time they were partly my own and partly long before my time. In all honesty, we don’t get to visit this small town of my childhood summers anymore. Life has gotten busy, that far-too-complicated kind of busy that truly doesn’t make any sense in the grand scheme of things. Surely we should always have time for these kinds of places? Such wonderful places that hold such big parts of who we are, and yet we let life sweep us along- further and further away from them.

As we celebrated her day, I sat trying to hold onto the threads that tied me to her and the town I loved so much. Up until I was 12, we’d visit the grocery store my great-grandparents owned there. I’d gladly wake up before sunrise and drive through the sleepy town to help open the store. My great-grandfather would set to work in the meat market, his meat saw loud and terrifying to a little girl who wanted to keep all her fingers. My great-grandmother and grandmother set up the registers and made sure the shelves were stocked. I’d proudly take the task of unrolling the flag and placing it back outside and flipping the NOW OPEN sign over as soon as the clock struck 8. I remember making cattle runs in the evening- feeding and counting cows while avoiding the snapping jaws of ambling geese (much scarier then than they are now). I remember the wonderful home cooked dinners I haven’t tasted from their hands in over a decade. Who knew I’d miss its comfort? I remember the way it felt when we would fall asleep from contented exhaustion. I don’t remember thinking too much, only being happily busy all day, loved, and enthralled by a world so vastly different from my own.

Processed with VSCO with q3 preset

Who knew all these things would fall further and further away into hazy subconscious, and be the one thing that I would cling to unknowingly as an adult- hoping to recreate it one day in my own way.

My grandparents and their parents and so on and so on have been reminding me of how simple life can be. Their memories have reignited my own journey to build a simpler lifestyle, and because of that realization, I miss them beyond words. I wish I could ask them so many questions- even the ones that I never got the chance to know. They hold so much knowledge that I would love to be able to call them up sometimes. Yet now that they are gone, I just find myself scrambling for it in books and on the internet, hoping that my intuition will be enough. They lived it without thinking, and goodness knows I think too much.

I get whiffs of them in little moments. When I smell that sweet hay smell that follows livestock. A certain taste of cheese that they carried in their store can bring me back in a wave of memories.

My dad finds it in homemade plum jam and West Texas honey. In worn-in leather and dry mountain air. We both are reaching back to them for these sweet moments. A link to their awareness of the land around them, their love of working with their hands, their recipes passed down from decades of trial-and-error, and their love of family and community. In many ways, with their passing we let that piece of ourselves be forgotten. We didn’t take the time to let them teach us, or we simply just took it for granted as the world changed. And that simplicity, well, hopefully we’ll figure it out again soon. It might not look the same as it did in our memories, but hopefully it will be something just as fulfilling.

**Since I know many of you follow for progress on the Airstream– have no fear, things are coming along and an update is coming soon! Sadly, I’ve just been under the weather- which really isn’t a good excuse, but that’s all I got 😉

The Life of Things: Thoughts on Minimalism

This blog post is a part of the Cherished Blogfest that I stumbled across in my roaming around the WordPress community. Their writing prompt is “What object do I cherish the most?” Feel free to join the conversation and create your own post about this topic and add it to the linked list of participants– or if you don’t have a blog, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments! I thought their topic was appropriate and relevant to my life lately- happy writing and reading!


More than ever I’ve been contemplating the accumulation of “stuff” I’ve holed up like a pack rat over the years. I think living at home after college truly can revert you back to your childhood in a weird time-capsule sort of way.

Yet, like me, it’s changed over the past 18-odd years, though the bones have stayed the same. I’ve piled my typewriter, journals, England memorabilia (this includes hotel pens that I’m terrified will run out of ink…  evidence showing my true hoarding capabilities), clothes, books, as well as so many other things that have meant something to me over the years. I’ve essentially collected objects that I’ve come to associate with who I am. Then I go in the Airstream and wonder how in the world I’m supposed to fit my entire life inside this aluminum-can-on-wheels. Do I think that if all these objects that have trailed me are gone, it will erase the history that I encapsulate inside them?

I think I have a gypsy heart some-days, itching to leave it all behind and be doing something else, restless for a change of scenery. Excited by the freedom of the future. Yet, here I am getting sentimental over a cheap plastic pen. I carry so much around with me. In essance, all these things that I collect around me have been given meaning beyond their physicality and even their usefulness.

One example is a gum tape dispenser (essentially a tape dispenser that holds wet tape) that belonged to my great-grandparent’s grocery store that I grew up in–napping in cardboard boxes, pricing canned goods, and playing “cashier” in the back stockroom/break room. I have absolutely no need for this heavy tape holder whatsoever. Yet, tears formed in my eyes when I was reunited with it. It’s as though just by looking at it, that special part of my childhood will continue to exist for me, even if other people can no longer experience it. I can still touch the store, a beautiful memory, and that means the world to me.

It needs some TLC on top of it all, too.

So as I start this journey of minimizing (because honestly, I think M will kick me out of the Airstream if I take that tape dispenser with me… unless I can find some useful purpose for it 😉), I’ve begun to wonder if it’s healthy to “cherish” things in this way. Perhaps all these things are just touchstones I’m clinging onto, afraid that I’ll lose a part of myself if I leave them behind.

I just need a little more square footage….😁

And so I’ll keep you posted on how I actively simplify through our renovating process, keeping these words from Eckhart Tollé in mind as I move forward:

“Most people’s lives are run by desire and fear.

Desire is the need to add something to yourself in order to be yourself more fully. All fear is the fear of losing something and thereby becoming diminished and being less.

These two movements obscure the fact that Being cannot be given or taken away. Being in its fullness is already within you, Now.”

Month One of Project Dream-Stream

It’s been exactly one month since we brought the Airstream home, and I’m not sure this renovation will be as short as I was hoping. Between me working a normal 40 hour work week and Mason’s work schedule being the exact opposite of mine (working in the evenings and almost all weekend), we haven’t gotten as much finished as we would have liked. We get so much more accomplished when we are both working on the renovations together, but that time is scarce.

Even with such little time spent on it, we are falling head-over-heels for the ‘ole tin can. Despite setbacks, like having to figure out how to put the windows back on after re-doing the weatherstripping (or even just the weatherstripping process itself) and figuring out how we would get the new A/C on top of the roof with nothing but muscle and ladders, we are even more excited about the project than before. Or at least, I am. 😉

An initiation into weatherstripping

The first thing on our list after getting the Airstream, besides getting the title and paperwork in order, was making sure it was sealed tight to prevent future water damage. M tested out the weatherstripping he purchased on the door first, before starting the windows. It went so quickly and seamlessly. The old weather stripping came right off and he only used a bit of Acetone (followed by a quick rinse off with water) to clean up any leftover residue and glue. And viola, the door was done, 35 minutes tops.

We were pretty confident we could knock out all the windows in a couple days of working an hour here and there…

Oh how wrong we were.

First, we tried taking the old weatherstripping off with the windows still attached to the Airstream… which was awkward and not very efficient. I did some research and learned that you could disconnect the arms and lift the window as far up as possible and they would come right off, so that was an exciting discovery.

Yet, the process was still tedious with both of us using putty scrapers to remove the old strips and glue, and we weren’t too happy with having to use Acetone. So after we were able to do a decent job on one of the windows we gave up for the day, with plans for investing in GooGone for next time. It was about 8:30pm by then, and when we went to put the window to the left of the door back on, we could not get it to go. The top of the window frame where the hinge was supposed to pop back in was bowed, and despite using a mallet and piece of wood to try and pop it back on, we had to give up around an hour later because it was dark and difficult to see. We taped it into place and called it a night with bruised egos and a new hole in the window screen from trying to pop it back on.

That weekend we went to town on the same two windows. We were able to remove the last remnants of the stripping and glue by soaking it in GooGone and carefully scraping it off with the putty scrapers. Three-ish hours later, we finished cleaning off the old gunk and had replaced it with the new stripping. Once again, that second window just wasn’t working with us. Another hour passed, and finally M was able to get it back on using a wooden board and a car jack. Two windows and a door down, and six more windows to go…

For now, we are taking a break and moving on to other projects. Sealing up the windows has turned into a beast that we’ve decided to work on over time, enabling us to keep moving forward with the rest of the renovation.

The A/C makes its anticipated arrival

The most exciting part of this venture so far has to be when we were able to put the new A/C into place on the roof. It took some brain power, but at the end of the day, mostly just brawn.

We were feeling a little defeated before putting it up, thinking we would have to shell out even more money to rent a cherry picker or scaffolding. Despite our best efforts, we had accepted the fact that we would have to take apart the old A/C piece by piece to get it off, thereby ensuring we wouldn’t damage the Airstream trying to remove it in all it’s huge and heavy glory. To the salvage yard it sadly went.

In the end, M, an amazing friend, and my dad were able to use two ladders side by side to haul the new one up. In retrospect, I should’ve taken a picture, but I was too concerned for their safety and holding ladders to think of it.

Finally, the electrician came out to check on our wires and the safety of the trailer–giving us the green light to turn the power on. I have to say, it was the most magical moment for me so far. With the weather being 90+ degrees since we’ve had our little aluminum home, we haven’t gotten a true sense of what it will be like living inside it.

For the first time, we sat in it with the door and windows closed, the lights on, and the A/C humming happily in the background. We walked around rambling off all the things we can’t wait to do and some ideas here and there. We played with all of the lights, marveling at the way it made the trailer come to life. Mostly, we just took in the moment. A rewarding, sweet little moment to dream together.

The new A/C

The galley with a random cucumber from the garden

M playing with lights

Coming up…

Tearing out the gaucho/front couch and the galley

-Removing some of the vinyl panels inside to pop out two dents in the aluminum exterior

-Sealing the roof


-Putting in the new bamboo flooring

-This list seriously goes on foreeeevvverrr… Stay tuned!