don’t grow older. grow bolder.

be bold

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.

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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).

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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.)

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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.”

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Adventure Bound!

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!

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Fourth of July by Anuwolf

“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!

Meet Sir Gawain – the Scaly Knight

If you follow me on the twitter, then you’ll have already been introduced to this face. But if you haven’t… join me in welcoming the gloriously beautiful Sir Gawain the Scaley Knight into our family menagerie.

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Photo by Lee Jaszlics.

He is a Hogg Island Boa, roughly 5.5 feet in length, and about 6 years old. He belonged to my best friend Lee, who is moving to Australia, so he was recently rehomed to me. He’s absolutely beautiful and I find myself constantly drawn to his amazing colors – and he always has such a smug smile. Especially after he’s eaten.

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Photo by me.

Like that. That right there. So smug.

As for an update on the rest of our menagerie, we recently lost the very last of our rats to old age. Artemis outlived her sister by many months and was, what the vet said, a miracle rat. It’s odd not having any more little ones in our house, but Ash and I both work now so it’s hard to give them the time they deserve. Total we have four dogs (2 belong to family members but are staying with us for the time being), seven cats (one is a foster), and one snake. Almost a normal amount.

Right?

Hope y’all are having a wonderful weekend! Happy Saturday!

Today is Voting Day here in the US. A lot is riding on this election. A LOT. From finances, to medical bills, to gender equality to civil rights. It’s an important election. Here are a few thoughts I jotted down last night before going to sleep.

“The closer we get to tomorrow, the meaner and more cruel people on Facebook become – on both sides. I’ve started blocking quite a few people from my News Feed because I’m sick of the hatred being thrown around. Stop talking and act. Go out and Vote. Stand up for what you believe in. Do good, live your life well. That’s what counts. Don’t get mean. Love.

As for me, I’ve just had to stop thinking about tomorrow. You all know my side. You all know who I voted for. You all know who I love and what I stand for. Regardless of who wins, the aftermath is going to be filled with angry, hateful people. Regardless of who wins, remember this. We’re all humans. We all have responsibility. We all have a commitment to this earth and to our fellow people to put as much good into this world as we are able. We are all still Americans. We are citizens of Earth. We are pieces of the same universal stardust that make up our existence. We are the SAME.

Just remember that.”


Me in January 2009 on the National Mall waiting for the inauguration of Barack Obama.

No matter what happens, I will continue to fight for what I believe in.