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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…

6.4k

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.

5.9k

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?

2.2k

Sometimes I take the back alleys

We all know I am an avowed city girl, right? Backstory: grew up in the forest, moved to the city, then moved around to different cities, then settled in the city near my forest. I continue to make all sorts of logistical sacrifices to living my city-center lifestyle, including but not limited to having my son sleep in a walk-in closet and paying way more than I should for a mortgage. I love that I can walk out my front door and immediately be immersed in a flow of hungover hipsters, aging gay professionals, halfway house residents, Microsoft executives, and part-time yoga teachers/body workers/dance instructors/etc. who live in my 'hood.

But even as an avowed city dweller who loves swimming through people-stew every day, I still find myself sometimes taking the back alleys.