Hello Goodwill, It's Nice to Meet You

Hello Goodwill, It's Nice to Meet You

I had the opportunity to tour my local Goodwill-Industries in Knoxville, TN. Director of Marketing Erin Rosalina gave me the lay of the land, the building, and the mission driving Goodwill's community impact. If you've ever donated to Goodwill, shopped secondhand, or wondered what they're doing behind those enormous thrift shops, this article explains everything.

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Missing the Taste of Tradition

Missing the Taste of Tradition

Last July, I moved from my hometown of St Petersburg, FL to Oak Ridge, TN. I embarked on this new adventure with excitement, trepidation, and an open mind. While I expected to miss friends and the routine of my previous life, I didn't intend to miss this small but meaningful tradition. Read about one of my favorite gems in Tampa, FL and get a mini-travel guide for your next visit! 

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Women Taking Leaps - Interview with Erin Slocum

Women Taking Leaps - Interview with Erin Slocum

Erin Slocum is not your modern entrepreneur. Yes, she's started one of the most popular cultural platforms in Knoxville, Tennessee and yes, she's a boss-babe commanding a small creative team with an ambitious project schedule. Erin is also employed by Fox 44, a massive media syndicate in the Eastern US. While it may seem like quitting your job is the only option to pursue a creative vision, Erin took a different route: When the idea came up for her media-baby, Knoxville Weekend, she assembled a team from inside her organization, rallied high-level support, carefully implemented her company's resources, and has created a masterpiece. Erin's story is inspiring for any entrepreneur or hopeful-preneur who isn't interested in leaving the nest, but instead wants to learn to work within the system. 

Learn more about Erin and Knoxville Weekend in this latest Women Taking Leaps interview!

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Women Taking Leaps - Interview with Freya Dowson

Women Taking Leaps - Interview with Freya Dowson

This week, I caught up with Freya Dowson, a freelance international humanitarian storyteller. She may be new to freelancing but her career in the not-for-profit sector, creating stunning media to compel support for a variety of initiative spans nearly a decade. In this latest Women Taking Leaps interview, we discuss how self-doubt holds us back, how she copes with a career that takes her to unpredictable places, and the wisdom Freya has cultivated that's carried her to international artist renown. 

Don't miss this text excerpt of my interview with Freya Dowson for Women Taking Leaps! 

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Accepting Mistakes with Grace

Accepting Mistakes with Grace

Words don't always come out the way I intend and this has consequences. In this post, I share my experience of dealing with these consequences in a situation I never expected to encounter. Sometimes, we make mistakes. We make messes we can't clean up. And, we have to move on with grace. 

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100 Days of Grace

100 Days of Grace

For the first 100 days of 2018, I will pursue grace in all forms, explore its origins and exemplifications, and learn to embody it in my daily life. I have chosen the first seven of fourteen ways in which I will do this, and as I discover more about grace itself, the next seven will emerge. 

Read on for details on the 100 Days of... project, how to participate, and what I'll be doing for the first 100 days of 2018.

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Asheville, NC: The Curated City

Asheville, NC: The Curated City

A trip to Asheville this time last year completely changed my life. The mountain air, the yoga retreat, the city itself; I came home and jumped into the unknown that brought me all the way to where I am today. Since that time, I've been drawn back to explore with an urgency that brings it up in conversation more often than I care to admit. On Friday, I tagged along with my friend Sophia's already-planned Asheville. In the seven hours we had, this is where we went. 

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Brazil on Film: 1 Year Later, Part 1/2

Brazil on Film: 1 Year Later, Part 1/2

South America hadn't been on my 'list'. That bucket list I write down over and over, things to do, places to go, what to try, who to be. South America just didn't make that list. Scary, dangerous, language barrier, climate, whatever the news was feeding me at the time. It wasn't on my list, but the opportunity arose and I took it. 

I'm grateful I did.

This post isn't about the trip. It isn't a travel guide; it certainly isn't about the Olympics, which was happening at the time and which I did attend; it isn't about food or neighborhoods or anything like that. It isn't even about people, truly, though the trip (and Rio by nature) was full of them, touching my life and changing my perspective. 

It's about 6 rolls of film that sat on my shelf for a year.

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Skoolie Living: We Made it to Tennessee!

Our 1989 Blue Bird All-American made the trip like a champ

Last week, we packed everything we owned from our 800 square foot house into a 260 square foot interior bus space, with two three pet crates, a mattress, and even though space for a camping chair/passenger seat. 

TRIP DETAILS:

  • 700 miles
  • 18.5 hours (with multiple stops + a nap)
  • Approximately 18 miles per gallon (!!)
  • 4 pets, 2 people
  • Absolutely zero issues on the drive

Check out the video below, compiled from the @stpeteskoolie Instagram Story, to see the full journey from St Petersburg, FL to Oak Ridge, TN. 

Skoolie Progress Report: #1

Skoolie Progress Report: #1

On June 27, we brought what we're intermittently calling the St Pete Skoolie home to the 'burg, where it sits parked in front of my favorite mural by the Ink Werks team.

However, you can't quite see the mural because our bus is ENORMOUS. 

Interior measurements show approximately 7.5 ft x 35 ft (up to the engine hull + driver's seat) at about 6'1 interior height. This equates to about 260 square feet of usable interior space.

Woah. 

Google 250 square foot apartment and people a doing a LOT with spaces this size. Though we don't have the option of a loft, our floor space holds a lot of opportunities. 

 

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We Bought a Bus!

We Bought a Bus!

1989 Bluebird All-American

15-Rows - 40 ft - Flat Front

8.3L Cummins Turbodiesel

Allison MT643 4-Speed Automatic Transmission

99k Miles - 37k Hours - former church bus

We searched for six months, called many craigslist ads and auction houses in multiple states, visited buses, talked to numerous school bus and skoolie owners, and ultimately stumbled upon this beauty by happenstance in our own backyard. Taking as much time as we did allowed us to learn so much about what to look for in a school bus, and to determine what we wanted for ourselves.

We didn’t plan on a 40-foot land yacht. 

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NYC Weekend Getaway: Where to go, What to eat, How to slow down

NYC Weekend Getaway: Where to go, What to eat, How to slow down

Taking it slow in New York City: 

  • Walk when you want to, otherwise - take the metro
  • Choose meals at local restaurants
  • Drink locally roasted coffee
  • Visit markets and talk to makers and vendors about their wares
  • Keep your head up and eyes keen for murals
  • Shop at local stores - this may be the best place in the world to do so
  • Start in Central Park

In this post, I detail how I made the most of a slow weekend in NYC, sharing my favorite places and some photos along the way.

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From Stone Barns to the Cement Jungle

From Stone Barns to the Cement Jungle

Arriving at Stone Barns, the clouds looming overhead threatened to burst. We debated umbrellas, decided on only one and layered up against the wind. The tour was set for 90 minutes, the longest and most in-depth they offered, and would cover the entire grounds.

It promptly began to pour.

Our group started closer to ten, and without spoiling the ending for you, we finished with four. Our fearless leader Rene, the Director of Education, wore a rain jacket, no gloves, and braced herself to take the brunt of the storm to her front while we huddled with our backs to the wind. Her voice never wavered and her smile never diminished. I couldn't help but shiver, being a lowly Floridian so far out of her element wearing another man's boots and already soaked in her skinny jeans to the bone. Mari leans over to me,

Just keep telling yourself, mind over matter. 
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From NYC to The New Paris

From NYC to The New Paris

After I booked my trip to NYC, Lindsey posted a graphic to her superb Instagram: @lostincheeseland the dates of her upcoming book signings. One happened to be at the famed Rizzoli Bookstore the weekend I'd be in NYC! Mari, being an even more avid literary-lover than myself, agreed to accompany me (and happened to be a great paparazzi for the whole event!). 

Lindsey was spectacular. 

The event was moderated by Esquire Food & Wine Editor Jeff Gordinier and the main discussion topics of the night were on the first section of the book, the new and developing food scene in Paris. Lindsey talks about how young entrepreneurs, fresh chefs, and individuals with mixed backgrounds are remixing the Parisian food scene, which had devolved to some degree in the past couple decades. 

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The Quaintness of Northern New Jersey

The Quaintness of Northern New Jersey

Before venturing into Maplewood, NJ for to meet a friend for breakfast, we briefly explored downtown Morristown, about 15 minutes from where I was staying with Mari. There, we found stunning blossoming trees, neighborhoods fully rebuilt since the hurricane, and a few hidden gems I photographed below. 

The Artist Baker & Colly Flowers were connected, both micro-small but seemingly full with tables and communal space I could've enjoyed all day if we didn't have plans. Mari and I mused over how the multiple-concepts business idea is a dream of each of ours. A cafe - florist - bookstore or a coffee shop - stationary - local goods compendium were among our favorite ideas. 

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The Road to Waitress

The Road to Waitress

When I learned that Sara Bareilles would be starring Waitress, her broadway musical writing debut, I booked my ticket to NYC. The culmination of being a musical theatre nerd circa my teen-hood, a Sara Bareilles fan as long as iPods have been around, and having never seen a Broadway show before set the stage (ha) for my best trip to New York yet. 

In this post, I also share details about my arrival to my friend Mari's lovely home, our journey into NYC, and the slow evening that awaited me at home.

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How I Plan for a Trip (Especially to NYC)

How I Plan for a Trip (Especially to NYC)

New York is my favorite place to go alone. To be completely anonymous, not just in a foreign place but among so many strangers who respect your space in response to you respecting theirs. Moving fluidly from metro stop to destination, one neighborhood to the next, a new world opening up before me as I climb the stairs from underground. 

In this post, I detail how I plan for my trip, the details I've arranged, and some special events I'm excited about. 

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What Am I Going to Do in the Skoolie?

What Am I Going to Do in the Skoolie?

This is the question I get asked the most, almost immediately after people gawk at the immensity of this plan.

I'm sure they mean "what are you going to do to support yourself and earn a living?" Instead, I take it as an opportunity to create for them what my life will be living in this bus. Money will come - Alhen and I will create goods, work from our computers, consult with businesses doing what we do best, and have far less expenses across the board. 

So, what does my life look like in this bus? 

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