How I gave up the house but found a life

For 22 years my family and I lived in Westfield, New Jersey, by many measures, the ideal place to raise a family. There are great schools, quiet leafy streets, multiple transportation options, a walkable downtown, and cultural and religious options to fit diverse tastes. Even its names evokes wholesomeness. When I arrived there in 1995, I knew within 30 minutes that it was the wrong place for me. It took us 22 years to undo that decision. I spent years telling myself that it was not so bad but always hating it. This is a story of finding my comfortable place in the world…


Ariel's whirling rainbow dream… after the remodel

Last fall, I wrote about how I was remodeling my one-bedroom condo to better accommodate my three-person family. Well, six months later, I am here to report back with our-post remodel home tour… it's six months later because the 6-8 week remodel turned into four months of my family drifting around and couch surfing. We just moved back in a month ago.


When is saving money more important than living in a great place?

I live in the wonderfully offbeat city of Portland, right in the thick of things. I love where I live, like LOVE LOVE where I live. I can walk anywhere I could possibly need or want, and our apartment is adorably vintage. Problem is, I'm about to have to take a major pay-cut. It seems more financially responsible to move, but it's good for our souls to live here. All that to say, when is saving more important than living in a great place?


We planted a vertical pumpkin patch in our tiny urban backyard

With urban living comes many advantages. Jules and I both walk or ride our bikes to work, we are a few minutes walk from a zoo, there countless numbers of cafes, restaurants, bars, playgrounds, etc. within walking distance. But there are also some disadvantages. Real-estate is a valuable commodity where we live and there aren't many lots that would accommodate the size garden we wish we could have so we have to get creative.