I woke up at seven this morning and couldn’t get back to bed. I had this weird urge to get out of the house so I took Rose on a walk around the block. I love how quiet my neighborhood is in the morning and also how friendly. There were two older women working in a garden by the sidewalk, chatting as they dug into the ground. They greeted us warmly and went back to the conversation. As we were passing I heard one of them say, “Don’t grow older. Grow bolder.” I stopped in my tracks, turned around, and told her that was the best thing I’d ever heard. I think she could see on my face that it really had made an impact because she stood up, came over to me, and gave me a big hug. “It took me 70 years to learn that. Start now while you’re still young and you’re gonna change the world.” I thanked her and hugged her again (and tried not to lose it). Walking back home, I felt like my whole body was filled with electricity.
Every single thing in this universe happens for a reason. Today is going to be an amazing day.
I was kind of a hermit in high school. If I wasn’t in class, I was in the art room. I never used my locker – all my stuff I stored in the art room. It was where I ate my breakfast and lunch, and spent much of my after-school activities of doing homework and throwing paint on canvas in that room. So the majority of friends I had were also people who frequented the art room. Hank Butitta was one of them. Senior year we were the only two in AP Art who finished our portfolios and sent them off – him for architecture and me for painting (painting trees to be more specific). Thankfully, one of us continued to use the skills they learned in school (hint: not me).
The Kid Who Bought a Bus
If you’ve been following me recently on Twitter, you’ll have seen me post a bit about Hank and his incredible journey. Hank bought a bus and ever since then, the world can’t seem to stop talking about him. In a spontaneous decision, Hank bought an old school bus off Craigslist and renovated the entire thing for his Masters Final Project. (This isn’t the first time Hank has taken a large vehicle for a joy ride. Senior year, Hank, our friends Kadi and Andrea, and I were tasked with bringing artwork over to the public library during school hours. We did it – but then took the van for a spin around town and down to the Arboretum and climbed trees – you can tell he hasn’t changed much.)
A Designer’s Dream Interior
The end product of Hank’s hard work is this absolutely gorgeous, minimalistic tiny home on wheels. The interior is every designer’s dream-come-true. The clean lines, the wood paneling, the bright natural sunlight. This is what I want to emulate in my future house. Hell. I want to just own this bus.
Hank didn’t just do it as a final project. He’s hoping that his bus and the road trip will promote the idea of living a minimalistic lifestyle. In his own words: “I hope this experience can help expand the dialogue about tiny living spaces and their viability. The bus prompts lots of interesting questions that could (and have) led to hours of discussion, which is truly the point. Our definition of home is so narrow, and our image of a mobile home is even more limited (and generally looked down upon). I think the tiny house movement is terribly interesting, if not entirely viable as a large scale solution. It helps remind those of us who have grown up in a traditional home that we could get by with less. A lot less. 200sqft is small, but I know people who have lived in apartments that are smaller. I want people to see the bus, be shocked at how comfortable, functional, and affordable it is, and maybe reassess what they’re willing to consider a viable home.”
Hank is the kind of person who can be completely quiet, working intently, and out of nowhere, with the most serious expression on his face, say something ridiculously funny that leaves you in stitches, unable to remember what paint color you were trying to mix. We once staged a paint fight in an empty hallway in our high school for our friend Laura’s photography project – I dumped an entire can of purple paint over Hank’s head and the walls of that hallway I’m sure still to this day show signs of the fight. It took weeks before I got the orange paint out of my ear. I can just imagine the hysterical conversations and happenings going on on that bus. I don’t know about you, but I would LOVE to see it all in person.
Come to Austin, Hank and Co! We have beer and live music and all the breakfast tacos you can eat!
All the photos you see are from the talented Justin Evidon, Hank’s co-pilot on this adventure. You can find out more specifics about the bus on their Tour of the Bus page. Find them on Twitter and Facebook too!
The Declaration of You, published by North Light Craft Books and available now, gives readers all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 200 other creative bloggers. Learn more – and join us! – by clicking here.
When all else fails: Turn to the Internet!
A little over a year ago, my life took a nosedive when the company I was working for laid off a bunch of people, including more than half of the marketing team I was apart of. I felt betrayed, lost, hurt, and ultimately, like I had somehow failed. I wasn’t sure where to go with my life or what to do, so as I do when I’m on a hunt for answers, I turned to the internet (I had just lost a job as a social media strategist – of course I’d look to the internet for help!).
I had started following and talking with Michelle Ward, the When I Grow Up Coach, over Twitter about a year earlier, but it was at that moment that she had opened up the Clubhouse and in a spontaneous burst of inspiration, I joined. All of a sudden I was surrounded by people who were just like me – trying to figure out what to do with their talents, how to make a business of it, how to be successful. It was one of the best things I ever did and I am so thankful to Michelle and all the amazing folks in that community. It not only helped me to structure my goals, create a plan, and find support, it also helped me in my journey to begin trusting myself again.
Learning to Trust Again
It’s amazing just how damaging losing a job you love can be. I no longer knew if I was good at anything, and I didn’t trust myself to start branching out. I hesitated at everything and felt like I had lost my footing on a path I wasn’t sure was my own anymore. I felt like I couldn’t even trust the people around me anymore – the community I had built at work for the past three years had been stripped away in one afternoon. I went home and just cried and wondered what I should do with my life now (a little dramatic, but I felt I deserved it, at least for the day). I am so thankful that Michelle had come into my life when she did – I already trusted her judgement and felt that connection with her that’s so important when working with a career coach. The Clubhouse was instrumental in teaching me to trust myself again, to trust my heart, to trust my gut, and to find trust in the close-knit community I built around me.
When you have a faith in yourself again, it’s like opening a door and finding opportunity everywhere. And that’s why I’m so excited to be a part of this book tour. The Declaration of You is an inspiration book for creatives searching for their place in the sun. It was written and illustrated by Michelle Ward and Jessica Swift. I’ve been a big fan of Jessica Swift for years. Her artwork is colorful, motivational, and inspiring, and I have many of her prints up on my walls – including my cube wall at work! I’ve even written about her work here before! To see two of my favorite community people getting together to create something so wonderful is a dream come true. Check out the book trailer if you don’t believe me.
Join Us Today!
Are you looking to join this amazing community and find out more about Michelle Ward, Jessica Swift, and The Declaration of You? You’re in luck! Today over on the Facebook Page, there’s going to be a comment party all about this week’s topic: TRUST! If you can, we’d love for you to join us at 9:30-10a PST/11:30a-12p CST/12:30-1p EST.
Over the past year, I’ve learned to not only trust those around me, but to trust myself again. It’s been a long, up-hill battle, but I am proud of who I am today. I’ve worked hard, become more organized, defined the goals I want to achieve in my career, and I’ve done it with the support (and trust!) of an amazing community around me. My declaration for the day: It’s always a good thing to have a little faith, trust, and as much pixie dust as you can possibly handle!
What’s your declaration of you?
“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation and freedom in all just pursuits.” – Thomas Jefferson.
Happy Birthday, United States of America!
I love the family and food and happy faces that Independence Day brings, but I am not a fan of the loud noises that come with it. I am absolutely terrified of fireworks – even just the start of a whistle makes it hard for me to breathe because of how anxious I get. Kovtapyroergasoiphobia is the name of the phobia and while I can’t pronounce it, it doesn’t make it any less real. So while I wish America a happy birthday and hope you all have a fabulous day filled with family and friends and hot dogs, I will be with my pups hiding in the house with my music turned as loud as I can make it.
Speaking of pups, make sure yours are safe inside. Dogs and cats are not fans of this holiday. Love them and keep them indoors.
Happy Independence Day!
It was one humdinger of a week in the USA. The Boston Marathon bombing, then the gigantic fertilizer plant explosion just two hours north of us here in West, TX – a place we frequent on many a road trip, and then the manhunt back in Boston. What a week. And that sentence right there, well I’m grateful that I can say that. It was one week. One day of fear. I am so thankful we live in a place where a statement like that is a big deal. Last night at the Boston press conference with commissioner Edward Davis, they mentioned that it was a long day of terror. But it was a day, and now it’s over and the sun has come up again.
We’re so lucky to live in a country where a few days of terror is so rare it makes global headlines. We are lucky to have people who rush forward to help instead of hiding behind doors. We are lucky to have the government we do that allows us access to the media and local resources. We are lucky to live in a free country. We are so very very lucky to live in a place where we are woken up by alarm clocks and not bombs, where our police are there to protect us not take from us, where our president talks about his love for diversity and his pride for the people he governs. My heart goes out to those who aren’t so lucky, to those who live in this terror every day, for weeks, months, years. My love to all those who are not so fortunate.