Link Love: 2

Link LoveHere’s what I’ve been loving this week.

Why I bought a house in Detroit for $500.
“It would be only one house out of thousands, but I wanted to prove it could be done, prove that this American vision of torment could be built back into a home. I also decided I would do it the old-fashioned way, without grants or loans or the foundation money pouring into the city. I would work for everything that went into the house, because not everyone has access to those resources.” Inspiring.

Tiny House, Big Problems
This couple built a 200-square-foot-house on 50 acres in Michigan with no running water or electricity. The couple built the house to live a more sustainable life, but the township has deemed it too small to be livable. Insane, I say.

No, the American Dream doesn’t cost $130,000.
Sure doesn’t.

Eating gluten-free can be a struggle on a budget. Here’s 21 gluten-free meals from Costco for $162.

When do chefs and doctors buy generic?

Weddings are stupid-expensive. I had a relatively cheap wedding, but I wish I had saved even more. Here’s how to crowdfund your wedding!

I’m totally late to the game, but I just discovered Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The SJP episode was particularly cute. And bonus, it’s free.

Speaking of free, my local, public library subscribes to Overdrive and I am addicted. It’s so good, ya’ll.

Read anything amazing this week? Let me know about it in the comments!

love,
melanie

What #GIRLBOSS Taught Me About Money

#GIRLBOSSI jumped on the bandwagon and recently read Sophia Amoruso‘s new book #GIRLBOSS. (I checked it out from the library, true #GIRLBOSS style.) Sophia is founder, CEO and Creative Director of the uber-popular, Nasty Gal– an online clothing retailer. I expected the book to be mostly about her rise to the top and how she encourages young girls to get out there and be a… well… #GIRLBOSS. And while ultimately, it was all that, it was also exceeded my expectations.

Sophia gets frank about money and the financial mistakes she’s made. And good god, did I appreciate that. Many of the financial gurus or entrepreneurs out there say that they were once in debt or worked as a waitress for tips. They don’t usually say that a Victoria Secret credit card ruined their credit. She writes, “Like my A-cup bra did for me, it is the little things that can and will wreck your credit. As distasteful as it may seem when you’re busy plotting to take over the world, it’s equally important to stay on top of your bills… You could suddenly find the apartment of your dreams only to be denied because of that goddamned Target card you signed up for and forgot about while buying a mop, a sports bra, and mayonnaise.” Thanks for the frankness, Sophia.

Ironically, her bad credit was a blessing in disguise. It forced her to build Nasty Gal to $28 million in revenue without borrowing any money. She also gets real about asking for what you want, whether it’s a raise of that thrift store sweater for $1.00 off. And most importantly she stresses how incredibly hard she had to work to achieve her success. Everyone loves a success story, but we often don’t hear about the dumpster diving, hitchhiking, and obsession that it took to get there.

When Nasty Gal moved from eBay to an online store, Sophia had saved almost a million dollars in cash. That’s such an inspiration to me. My goal of buying a house in cash almost seems piddly in comparison. But it also seems much more do-able. I know that my goal is going to take real, hard sacrifices and a lot of hard work.

After all, “money looks better in the bank than on your feet.”

Have you read #GIRLBOSS yet? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

Love Weekends: Dog Days

Bambi sleepingThis weekend was such a mix of emotions. On Saturday, George and I visited the local animal shelter to adopt a dog. I’ve been wanting a dog since I was kid and George had been promising to get me one for years. We picked out the sweetest little 3-year-old chihuahua mix, named Bambi. She has big brown eyes, likes to help me in the garden and loves to cuddle.

Bambi in her "spot"As we were bringing Bambi home, we went for a walk across our family’s property. George’s parents have two, eleven-year-old dogs in their backyard– Zephyr and Ramona. George loves those dogs as if they were his own. Some days I think that he spends more time with them than he does with me! As we were walking by, George noticed something was seriously wrong with Zephyr. His face was swollen to two times the normal size. George jumped the fence immediately and called his parents. As soon as his parents got home, they raced to the vet. Zephyr had been bitten twice by a copperhead on his face. The vet gave him an IV, pain meds and antibiotics. They also gave him some tests that showed that his liver wasn’t functioning properly, but that could have been due to his old age. Then they took Zephyr home to rest.

On Sunday morning Zephyr looked better and was in better spirits. George spent the entire day by his side. But late last night Zephyr took a turn for the worst. He couldn’t keep down food or water or his medicine. He could barely move. He was in serious pain. George made the difficult decision to take him back to vet where he was put to sleep. It was a sad, long night.

This weekend was a roller coaster of emotions. I was so incredibly happy to be a dog-mom to Bambi, but so incredibly sad for Zephyr. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Losing an animal is so, so hard.

love,
melanie

 

Frugal Friday: BYOB on Vacation

tropical drinkThe beginning of the school year looming just around the corner has caused major day dreams about my tropical vacation. The only thing that has pulled me back to reality is one of my biggest irks of travel: the price of an adult beverage. Can I get an amen? I might shell out for one tropical delight (umbrella, required!) but two tropical drinks and I’ll need a second job.

One of my favorite tips for travel is to BYOB. It’s just not vacation to me without a little tipple. On our last road trip I brought a box of my favorite Trader Joe’s wine and George brought a 6-pack of cheap TJ’s beer. It’s cheap, but tasty, and we get to drink it in the hotel room while watching cable television (such a novelty!). Vacation and traveling is too expensive to blow all your money on fruity drinks.

What’s your favorite tip for saving money on vacation? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

Easy Crock-Pot Chicken Cacciatore

crock-pot chicken cacciatoreI know, I know, it’s kind of too hot to break out that Crock-Pot, but sometimes a busy girl has to do what a busy girl has to do. And sometimes that means cranking up the Crock Pot to make Chicken Cacciatore as the thermometer climbs into the 100s. It’s just too easy to use the Crock-Pot on those days when you know that 5,000 things will need your attention and you still have to work out and sleep and be a person. This meal is great for those days because you can throw everything in the Crock-Pot at breakfast and it will be ready for dinner or throw it in the Crock-Pot the night before and take it for lunch. It’s just good planning, people.

easy chicken cacciatore(Stupid) Easy Crock-Pot Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of chicken, cut up in pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 6 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 -4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Throw everything in the Crock Pot and let cook for approximately 7 hours on low. Serve over pasta, rice or quinoa if you wish. I just eat it plain. No time for all that.

super easy, crock-pot chicken cacciatore

love,
melanie

 

Link Love: 1

Link LoveI read a lot. I surf the web a lot. Maybe too much. But I digress. I thought I’d start sharing some of my favorite links with you all in a post I’m tentatively calling… Link Love. Enjoy!

Expensive Markups of Everyday Products

5 inspiring people who each paid off over $100,000 in debt

Can’t wait to see Wild (the movie) this fall. Or read the book! I heard an interview from the author on NPR and I was enthralled.

Speaking of movies… 7 Ways to go to the movies for free.

I love finding fellow Airstreamers and Tiny Housers on IG. Favorites include @cabinlove, @farmstream @alchemydistillery and so many more! If you live in a tiny house or an Airstream, I’d love to follow you too, just leave your handle in the comments!

Airstream trailers enjoy a resurgence in sales, as fixed lodging. Living in an Airstream is the way to do it, I tell ya!

This video of an old man dancing totally made my day.

love,
melanie

Switching Things Up!

airstream 2Not one to stay stagnant, I’m in the process of switching things up over here. I’ve finally pulled the trigger and changed the name of this blog to “A Small Life.” I think it more accurately describes what I’m actually doing here. Love Library served it’s purpose, but it never really had anything to do with what I was writing about. It took me a while to find my voice and find what I loved writing about but I think I’ve finally found it. And just in time because soon I’ll be revealing photos of our completed Airstream! We’ve been living in it a year and I am still smitten with the small life.

So what does it mean for you? Hopefully nothing! The last time I attempted to do this, I ended up deleting most of my pictures and totally screwed things up. But this time, I’ve just set it as a redirect, so hopefully you will be able to see things under my old site name and my new site name. I’ve also changed my name on social media so look for me on Instagram as “ASmallLife” and over on Twitter @a_small_life.

Thanks for your support!

love (as always),
melanie