Hawaii 7th – 12th 2014

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October 7th

Today we spent working outside. Ellis continued to work on the French drains. I hung up all the garden netting with a staple gun for the vines to grow onto.

I also bought a couple 275 gal square plastic totes with a bar cage off craigslist for $275 each. Which seems pretty typical over here $1 per gallon.

It gets dark at about 6:00 so it makes for a fairly short work day. We finished the day doing some market research and ate at the Volcano Lodge which has to be the best food I’ve had on the island but definitely had the price to match!

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And then the most incredible thing happened! Elizabeth Gilbert posted a photo that I sent her and said the treehouse was exquisite! I’m on cloud nine right now.

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October 8th

Today we scraped the lava cinders from underneath the hanging bed area to accommodate the sand we’ll be putting there. We also got the water tanks moved into place.

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We stopped work around 2:00 and we headed to Teds for some much needed showers. Then we headed to Kalapana and walked down to a small black sand beach and played around for a bit. At the end of the road in Kalipana there is a place called Uncle Roberts that opens every Wednesday evening. It’s one part luau, one part farmers market and one part hippie Fest. We grabbed some dinner there before heading to Hilo for supplies.

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Oct 9

I got my sand delivered today unfortunately it’s more like fine gravel. Not what I had pictured and since 6 tons was dumped in my driveway I couldn’t exactly return it. I was going back and forth all day trying to decide whether I should use it. It was $462 but I just can’t see it looking or feeling good. My plan right now is to put it on craigslist to see if I can sell it or use it to fill potholes on the road.

I have plenty of time and mull it over since we spent a few hours running errands. I did get a shipment of my tundra cork bark from Calliebamboo which is absolutely perfect. I can’t wait to install it but first I want to make sure the shower works properly before sealing the wall. this will replace the corrugated metal wall I had in the shower temporarily. But I can’t test it until my pump comes which is lost in the mail.

Oct 10th
So there’s always so many things to get done, even after it gets dark and I need to look things up on the internet, track packages, plan for the next day that I can barely find energy or time to write. The following our my notes for today.

New led vintage bulbs, gutter with water flow, trenches filled back in, moss under hanging bed.

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Oct 11th

I had bought some straw bamboo fencing in 4′ x 8′ lengths that I thought I could cover my eaves in but pared with the thatch it looked really dumb. So I scraped the thatch on the two sides with gutter which was the real problem with hanging it and am going to try to do something else in the front and back with the thatch.

I made some adjustments on the downspout so it drained better into the tanks. Then I made my way through the jungle to collect more moss for under the hanging bed because the sand just isn’t what I wanted. Last time I was here is trying to incorporate a moss wall in the shower vertically. It proved too difficult given my time and cash restraints. And since I can’t use the sand I was thinking of just putting the red cinder rock back under the bed but then had the brilliant idea of using moss under there! I’m going to include a picture of Moss under trees in nearby Volcano Village.
We also took some time to go see Thurston lava tube and watch some hula dancers at the Volcano national Park.

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Oct 12th

Today we tried to get some supplies for the shower drain pipe and some rebar for the bamboo at the ace hardware nearby but they didn’t have anything. So we headed to the Sunday farmers market in Pahoa I did some plant shopping tried some interesting food octopus dumplings. Then we checked put the tidepools in kapoho until we got rained out.

From there we did a Home Depot run where I got the things that I needed earlier. It rained pretty good this afternoon and it was excited to watch the water collect in the tanks. We played around with the bamboo pole position but I’m not really happy with the way it looks. I sketched it out of her dinner and I think I have a better plan now. I had Ellis put in the overflow in the water tanks well I went pillaging through the forest looking for Moss to transplant under the hanging bed area.

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Hawaii Progress Continued..

Let me catch everyone up before I go into the daily logs. I left the island about 6 months ago to go back on tour for the Idaho Potato Commission. I’m back here for a couple weeks working on a lot of beautifying projects as well as getting the water and solar working smoothly.

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Oct 1st

Well I arrived yesterday evening in Hawaii after a solid day half in my home base Boise on completion of my second tour for the Idaho potato commission. My electrician friend Dana’s dad happened to be in town and graciously pick me up from the airport and took me to dinner in the Pahoa which might not be there in another month due to the lava flow. I listed my home my house on airbnb.com a couple months ago and I’ve started getting reservations. You may recall I had to leave Hawaii before I could hook up my water system due to a shortage of pipe.

It feels so good to be back sometimes it’s like the Hawaii treehouse is just a dream; like did I really do that?!

So six months later the place is in great shape. My old landlord, friend, mentor Greg isn’t here yet but he let me borrow his truck. My awesome neighbor Gabriel spray-painted a welcome home sign on a scrap piece of metal and tied up a beautiful flower arrangement to a couple trees at the beginning of the path. So sweet. The people at Home Depot remembered me and welcomed me back too. Then when my truck load of pipe fell 2 cars pulled over and two guys helped me put it back in and secure the load.
Today I pretty much just got situated unpacked and bought a few supplies. Ive been shown so much kindness in the last 24 hours, my heart is full.

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Oct 2nd

Today got off to a slow start due to me locking the keys in the truck outside my neighbors house. Hawaii doesn’t seem to of caught on to Internet and most of the locksmiths I called numbers were disconnected.
It ended up a towing company came out was very helpful how did unlocked in two seconds.
I ran to Keaau to the post office to pick up my water heater that I ordered yesterday off craigslist in Maui.
I spent the day digging out the hole where my septic goes that had been previously dug but got filled in a bit while is gone. I also got my septic pipe plumbed and painted tan to blend in with the treehouse wood.

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Oct 3rd

Another late morning start this time due to a dead battery (again) I was able to jump it with the car battery I’ve been temporarily using for my solar panels. I went into town for supplies. I ended up ordering a pump off of Amazon so that should be here shortly along with LED bulbs for my rope fixture that still have the vintage look I like. I also have two more solar panels on the way.

I mounted my on demand hot water heater and ran the hot water pex pipe to the shower.

I have a lot more Mosquitos than I ever did 6 months ago so I bought a battery operated patio light bug killer and screen doors for my sliders.

Oct 4th

I’ve been completing my to do lists fairly early so I think I’m going to have to start ramping them up a bit. Today I worked on running the cold water line of pex pipe to the shower and toilet. I also got the shut off valve and the toilet supply line installed as well as the vent pipe.
I still spend a bunch of time each day looking at resources online for different supplies. I’m trying to juggle my shipments and kind of waiting for them to come in to be able to complete a bunch of stuff.

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Oct 5 & 6

I spent the 5th tinkering around spray painting the plumbing that is exposed underneath the house and such. I went over to Ted’s place to shower and do laundry which felt great being clean if only for a short time.

My potato tour coworker Ellis flew in in the evening and we all went to dinner in Pahoa again. Ellis is going to spend a couple weeks here working on the place with me.

This morning we spent a few hours running around getting some bigger ticket items like solar batteries, big piece of sheet metal. The most fun purchase of the day however was at the nursery I ordered 8 red jade vines that will crawl up the inside walls of the underneath room. I can’t wait to see those take over.

I worked on the solar system, barn bathroom door and the toilet sink all if which need more tweaking. Ellis spent the day in the mud shoveling a trench for the French drain. Welcome to paradise my friend;)

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Tiny House Infograph

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Tiny House Addition Update

Today is the day I locked up the tiny house and set out on The Famous Idaho Potato Tour. I didn’t have a chance to completely finish the inside of the addition but I promised I would at least post pictures of the progress this far.

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The fireplace will be stacked rock and behind there will be shelves. The picture on the left is of the kitchen. The stove will be on the left and a small refrigerator on the right. The sink will be under the round window. We put corrugated metal on the ceiling and there will be a large wood beam going down the roofline.

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I made a stencil at Kinkos for the wall print. The walls are painted a flat gray and the stencil is essentially the same color but in a gloss. The effect is really quite pretty when you move through the place the light catches the pattern.

The top right picture is of the paper bag floors which I love! It cost around $30 worth of glue and polyurethane. Was
Super easy but a tedious process even in a small space.

The bottom picture is of the kitchen cabinets. The unit is made from a coffee table and 3 sets of thrift store drawers. Total $90. I think I’m going to go with a butcher block countertop.

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This is not a pretty view but it shows where the addition and the original structure connect. One closet will be a pantry and the other one will house my solar power batteries. The reason there are stairs is because the original house sat higher because of it being on wheels.

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You can’t tell how pretty the curtains are so you’ll have to trust me that they’re gorgeous! These thrift store doors and window were $100 and I have an amazingly peaceful view of the sunsets.

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Idaho Potato Tour

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It’s official – I was hired to be part of a three man team to tour the country to show off Idaho’s 6 ton potato!!! I will be leaving April 1st and won’t be returning until mid November. This is a chance of a lifetime disguised as a job – in the first month alone we will be stopping in 7 states I have never been to!

Those of you who know me know how proud I am to be from Idaho and how much I love/consume our potatoes. So much so that when I had to close my clothing boutique, I made a list of places I would want to work and Simplot (one of Idaho’s biggest potato processors) was right at the top of my list and I practically begged to be given a shot. For almost a year I worked mostly in receiving where I got so filthy everyday unloading potatoes, I was told I couldn’t walk through the factory to the break room because they were worried about contamination. I loved my time there and the people I worked with.

Idaho potato commission big potato truck 454

You can find more details at http://www.bigidahopotato.com as well as links to our facebook and twitter pages. I have a lot to do, as well as people to see in the next week. If we stop in your town please come by or drop me a line and we’ll try to meet up :)

Categories: Business, Minamilism, Philosophy, Tiny House | 18 Comments

Woodland Guest Bedroom

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A couple weeks ago my mom and I tackled her guest room. It was a bright aqua colored teen bedroom for my younger sister…she’s now 23 and living on her own. It took about 3 half days and about $400.

Before Pictures

This is a basement room and it is now used for visitors. These BEFORE pictures don’t really do the transformation justice since I didn’t think to take pictures until we had already removed everything except the bed. My mom was just wanting to clear the room and maybe put up a headboard, however I can be very persuasive :)

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She did get her headboard. We used a couple of old weathered picnic table inserts she had lying around outside. We had to cut them to get the right size but it didn’t cost a dime. We looked at every store Pocatello has to offer and couldn’t find a desirable bedding set. We ended up getting a cream quilt from Fred Myers as well as a printed fleece throw at the foot of the bed. We matched the darker color in the bedding for the wall paint which we also got at Freddy’s called Hen House.

closet makeover

The real wow factor is when people come in and turn around to see the closet. We removed the curtains and carpeted the inside. I convinced my mom that we could cut an old dresser that they already had right down the middle then patch it back together to make it fit inside the closet. Then we could spend the money saved on that to line the closet walls with fabric!

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We bought the oversized round mirror at Ross. Fabric is from JoAnnes (the only fabric store here). I printed off a simple “Be our guest” text and put it in a great wood carved frame. We also filled the top drawer with things a guest might have forgot, shavers, toothbrush etc.

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The woodland inspired curtains are from Bed Bath and Beyond which we hung from wall to wall for effect. The off centered electrical box drives me batty but the work and mess to move it just wasn’t worth this decorating quickie. We used a cup hook to swag it to center. The thrift shop, spray painted chandelier was left over from my sisters room and we added a home made drum to make it more contemporary. Because of the chandelier’s size we couldn’t find a lamp shade big enough to fit over it. Lowe’s has a beautiful neutral drum light but it was $80 so we took some brown roof flashing and made our own for $10.

Another money saver is to use conduit which is strong and super cheap for your curtain rods. We spray painted ours brown.

Categories: DIY | 6 Comments

Is Two Too Much?

Me 4 years old Coeurd'Alene, ID

Me 4 years old Coeurd’Alene, ID


“The choices you make now affect the opportunities available to you in the future. -Chris Guillebeau”
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I was mentioned in an article today on tinyhousetalk.com for having a tiny home in Idaho and a second one planned for Hawaii. For research they posed the question on their fb page, What do you think about owning more than one tiny house in different locations? Most people thought it was a great idea (if you could afford it) but there were a few who thought that it kind of defeats the purpose of living tiny in the first place.

I have to admit that I too considered if it was too much. After all my website tag line is “all you need is less” which I thoroughly believe to be true. But maybe there should be an asterix next to the tagline – All you need is less *except when it comes to joy, kindness, gratitude, and love. I love the time spent with my mom building the original and can’t wait to make more memories on a second one. I’m really grateful for the all the friendships that have come from this experience. I also get giddy when I think about how my friends and family will be able to enjoy this second tiny house in paradise.

I have always dreamt about having several homes around the world that loved ones could enjoy and I could rent out when not in use. The ultimate luxury I thought. The thing is I also thought I would have to be a gazillionaire to afford it. When I built my tiny house and got the land for less than what most people spend on a car, I started to imagine the possibilities. From time to time I would browse the craigslist ‘real estate for sale by owner’ section and late January I saw an ad for a plot of land on the big island for $8,000 and the owner was willing to carry! I called the seller and we hit it off. He shared my passion of having multiple small homes (or in my case tiny ones) around the world instead of one mediocre one in the suburbs. I bought the land site unseen, settling for exploring the plot via Google earth instead.

It’s amazing to realize that this tiny adventure will allow me to own two homes with no debt, with literally zero credit on a modest income. Imagine what your life would be like if you scaled back on the things that don’t fulfill you and purely focused on the things that do…

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How to be a Promo Model

CMA fest Chevy brand ambassadors, Nashville TN

CMA fest Chevy brand ambassadors, Nashville TN

I just got back from working Sundance Film Festival and where I met/saw countless celebrities, went to VIP parties and two film premiers. I posted a status update on facebook before I went and my inbox flooded with envy filled questions on how I get these kind of jobs.

Here is the long answer..

I’ve always liked to work behind the scenes, I’ve never been a waitress or bartender instead opting for factory and labor positions. However, when a promotion gig for CMA Fest came my way I had to do it because it filled a goal of going to Nashville which out weighed my resistance to being seen. What I discovered is that there was much more to promotions than just being eye candy (what I dreaded). There’s a lot of problem solving and improvising (which I love). Because I had never done this kind of work I treated it like any other job and let me tell you when the hired “booth babe” doesn’t blink when taking out the trash or knows how to use power tools to keep the canopy from falling, not only do you get respect but you get job offers.

I don’t take all that are offered, I use Derrick Siver’s philosophy when trying to decide, it’s either a Hell Yeah or a No. It’s gotta be some place I really want to go or an exceptional company.

Think you may be interested in being a promo model or brand ambassador? Usually you’ll make anywhere from $16-$22 an hour. Don’t expect travel to be included. There aren’t a ton of promos in Idaho so I treat it like a working vacation, I pick an event I would like to go to, then find a job there. Not only does it pay for my vacation with usually a few hundred in take home money but I get free access which is the big deal. One downside is you won’t be paid for 30 – 60 days in most cases. It is a great gig all in all, there is not experience or education requirements. What you do need to become a great BA is listed below.

Sundance promotion for Chase Sapphire, Park City UT

Sundance promotion for Chase Sapphire, Park City UT

Friendly – You need to be a happy person in general or your going to hate this job. If your the kind of person who starts a conversation in the grocery aisle then there’s a good chance you would be a good fit for this industry.

Well Rounded – During an event you will talk to hundreds of people, if your only talking about the product or promotion you won’t be making genuine connections. Being well read or well rounded will allow you to find something in common with just about everyone. For example this last event I struck up a conversation with a guy in a Harley jacket (rare for a film festival), because of my social media job with Danny Gray I know a bit about motorcycles, as it turns out he owns a company that makes plastic packaging, and I worked at a plastics recycling center out of complete curiosity this summer. He is one of the dozen interesting people that I exchanged contact information with that week.

Hard Working – As with all jobs there is no way to delegate every single thing that needs to be done, promotions are no different. Instead of sayings “that’s not my job” do what needs to be done. Your assigned task is always first priority but there are always periods of down time when the crowds aren’t swarming, take that time to pick up the area, clean computers, restock pamphlets, etc. When your looking for ways to work instead of avoiding them you’ll always find something to keep you busy.

Positive Attitude – Nothing kills the energy of an event then a bad attitude. Funny thing is most negative people don’t see themselves that way. Many people without realizing it try to connect with people by using a negative comment such as “This weather sucks, it’s miserably hot!” then without thought the other person agrees and so sets the mood for the day. At events, a lot of the people working not just the BA’s, will say “that person is an idiot or look at that outfit.” These kind of statements seem harmless but they aren’t. It’s human nature to mirror the behaviors of the people around us. When someone makes a negative comment you don’t have to agree to be polite and you don’t have to attack them for being negative. What I do at events and in everyday life is find the silver lining and vocalize it. “It’s so hot!” my response “I love this time of year, we should go get ice cream on break.” “That person was an idiot” my response “Eh we’ve done the survey a hundred times today, some people aren’t familiar with touch screens.” “Look at that outfit..” my response “To each their own, better to be unique than boring :)”

You get the point. Most people don’t put a lot of thought into their attitude and can go either way, be the person who brings everyone up.

Punctual – Be reliable, be on time. It’s really annoying for everyone if your the person who thinks there 30 minute break starts when they get to their destination or after they go to the bathroom. It’s not fair to your colleges and it will either create bad blood or everyone else will feel entitled to longer breaks as well. Your making good money for a simple job don’t take advantage of that.

If your interested in getting started I would suggest making profiles and getting in touch with the following companies:

http://eventprostrategies.com/
www.eventspecialistgroup.com or like thier fb page at https://www.facebook.com/event.specialist.group

Categories: Philosophy | 2 Comments

Before the Blog

“From small beginings come great things.” -Proverbs

I started this blog after I had already built and lived in my tiny house for a year and a half. It didn’t occur to me that people would even be interested in what I was doing so I didn’t take many pictures on the first build.

The pictures that I’m posting are from the original build, since then I have purchased land and added a tiny addition.

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Bought the trailer for $300. That’s my Uncle Scott on the left who frequents auctions, yard sales and such and lucky for me can’t pass up a good deal whether he needs it or not.
Standing next to him is my mom and co-conspirator who stayed in town for a month to help me everyday. At the time I had a full time job, when I was at work she would be searching craigslist and picking up supplies.
I’m on the trailer stapling tar paper to the insulated box that fit underneath the trailer.

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Most of this lumber was reclaimed. You can see some of the floor boards are lighter in color, those are ones I had to buy new. The darker ones came with the trailer.

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Recruitment day, my brother Sam and Uncle Scott came by to help with the roof line. The entire structure from ground to pitch cannot exceed 13.5′ so that it can fit under traffic lights.

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My girlfriend Alexa testing out the loft. Old hollow core closet doors make up the base of the loft. The chip board on the ceiling is black because it came used from a spook alley.
The insulation was free and used as well but I had to shake the rat droppings out of each piece.
I paid $40 for the used shower shell, it was larger than I had planned so the bathroom gained a little more space.

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My Aunt Vicki let me construct this in her backyard. This is towards the end of week 3. The dresser that is sitting under the trailer tongue later was deconstructed and made into a couch with storage underneath.

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This is the basic floor plan that I must have sketched a hundred times. I put the door on the long side of the trailer, sacrificing cuteness for a more open space.

tiny house in route, very nerve raking. I didn't know how much it weighed or even how much it should weigh.

tiny house in route, very nerve raking. I didn’t know how much it weighed or even how much it should weigh.


this is the dresser turned couch that opens up for storage.  it's also been the spare bedroom a time or two.

this is the dresser turned couch that opens up for storage. it’s also been the spare bedroom a time or two.


On the left side is my 24" closet. The right side bank of drawers hides the 20 gal water heater. The sleeping loft is up top and the grey door leads to the bathroom.

On the left side is my 24″ closet. The right side bank of drawers hides the 20 gal water heater. The sleeping loft is up top and the grey door leads to the bathroom.

Categories: Tiny House | 13 Comments

Michael Kors Knockoff

Michael Kors Knockoff

Original Michael Kors hot pink floor length dress retails at $3,995. Famously worn by Jlo and Brooklyn Decker.

I decided I had to have it months ago when I spotted it on pintrest. It took awhile to find the right fabric but I finally did and it cost a whopping $13.76!

Categories: Sewing | 13 Comments

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