Blogroll–The “Where are They Now?” Issue


Four years ago, I spent an extensive amount of time researching minimalist blogs, to create my blogroll.  While I no longer maintain a blogroll, I decided to revisit the blogs that I had recommended.  Surprisingly, most of them are still being written.

Remember, when choosing blogs for my blogroll, I used these criteria:

The blog is written by the person who maintains it. I don’t follow a lot of big blogs, because they tend to run out of things to say and resort to guest posts exclusively. I want to hear the writer’s voice! My exception to this is Miss Minimalist, because her guest posts enhance her message, and she does write some posts herself.

No merchandising! We’re trying to get away from consumerism and Getting More Stuff. So nobody on my list does sponsored posts. A couple of them do the occasional give-away, which I find to be annoying, but I did not include any that make that central to their focus.

I chose only blogs that facilitate discussion. Everybody either responds to their comments or has a great discussion going on.

These blogs are all updated at least once a week, unless the writer lets everyone know that they are taking some time off. They’re not likely to run out of things to say anytime soon!

And, finally, the subject matter is good. These writers will challenge your way of thinking and of doing things.

So, here’s my list!

Intentionally Simple
This is written by Rachel, a mother and a Person Who Doesn’t Have a Lot of Stuff. She has great practical ideas and did a series called “31 Days to Living Intentionally Simple,” which is a great way to get started at simplifying your life!

Just a Little Less
Dolly has a lot of practical ideas for living simply, and her honesty and sincerity are very refreshing. Be sure to look at the pictures of her house–it’s gorgeous in its simple, calm decor!

The Eco-Grandma
Lois used to live in a 300 square foot apartment–now she has bought an adorable home that she is restoring in an earth-friendly fashion, using her signature creativity. On her blog, she shares her ideas for downsizing, decluttering, and upcycling, as well as very positive and innovative ideas for being earth-friendly.

Miss Minimalist
This is the only big blog that I follow. Francine does a lot of facilitate discussion and community. Her guest posts support her message and bring more people into the community that she helped create.

Plastic is Rubbish
This couple completely boycotts all things plastic! They share tales from their adventures, as they travel the world, and some very practical ideas to avoid using plastic. Even if you don’t avoid plastic, their ideas will help you to live more sustainably.

Slow Your Home
Brooke is on a mission to “slow the hell down.” You will love her sense of humor and her great ideas. She also offers a “boot camp,” to help you get started on your jouney toward simplicity.

The Non-Consumer Advocate
Katy is an expert on thrift-store hunting and repurposing. You will love reading about her finds and be inspired to do some hunting of your own. It’s retail therapy for People Who Don’t Have a Lot of Stuff!

The Ramble
The adventure lifestyle is much easier, when you don’t have a lot of stuff. Gigi will take you across the world and entertain you with her fun and insightful stories.

The Simple Year
This blog is now in the hands of its fourth writer, Tracy, who is chronicling her efforts to focus on becoming more organized this year.  Through her experiences, you will definitely learn many tips.

Zach Aboard
My favorite live-aboard family details life on the Majestic, a cataran docked in Chesapeake Bay. Cindy writes about natural/attachment parenting, simple living, and, of course, sailing.

Zen Presence
After taking a leave of absence, Dan has returned with a very introspective tone.  He still writes short posts that say more in a few paragraphs than most people say in many pages.

So, that’s my list! I hope you enjoy reading all of these blogs as much as I do!

Are you working toward a simpler lifestyle?  Then I would love to share your story!  Please submit your original (not published anywhere else) story about how you are simplifying your life.  You don’t have to be an extreme minimalist–I would love to share stories of people who are just starting out of their journey.  If your story is selected to be featured, you will receive 50% off the the Simple Living Basics E-Course, after any other discounts.  Send your story to . 

New to Simple Living?  Then check out our Simple Living Basics e-course.  There are plenty of discounts available, and it will be an investment in a lower-stress more focused lifestyle!

A Warm Welcome!


Two years ago, during the summer of 2012, I wrote a guest post for Francine’s blog at Miss Minimalist.  At that time we were in the beginning of our 91-day-cruise on Moonraker, anchored out in Thunder Bay.  We had no clue that it would be our last summer cruising on the Great Lakes and that Beanie–who was about to begin her second year in the inclusive Head Start class–would not start kindergarten in Michigan.  Or that two years later we would no longer live on land.


Looking at all these changes, I decided it was high time to send Francine an update.

So if you’ve just found your way here from Miss Minimalist–welcome aboard!  I’ve been writing this blog for three and a half years.  If you’re interested in my posts from the earlier days, you will want to check out my Start Here page, which I update every March.


Otherwise, here are some recent posts on the various topics I like to discuss here:

Blossom–My “coming out” post where I announce our plans to move from Michigan to Texas.

Breaking Tradition–My first post about the boat we now live on.  It needed a lot of work!

10 Surprises About Marina Life–About our daily live aboard Breaking Tradition.

Minimalism: A Beginner’s Guide–Interviews with minimalist bloggers about the beginnings of their adventures toward less.

35 Lessons in 35 Years–Lessons I’ve learned, with links to posts telling the story behind each.  An ongoing project and a great sampling of my philosophical posts.

Pancakes–Why I’m fine with being a “bad” mom.

This Isn’t Holland–On raising a kid with a disability.

First Day of School, Take II–My daughter’s school experience this year.

It Still Matters–Why I’ve continued to teach.

12 Years Ago–On marriage–the good, the bad, and the ugly.

New Year’s Eve: 1995 and 2000–A “spill your guts” post about my backstory.

I hope you enjoy exploring my blog.  Please feel free to comment–the discussion is what makes this such a great community, and I always do write a reply!  I am also on Facebook and Twitter.  I use social media sparingly, so there is no need to follow on more than one site.  But connecting on either of those–or following via e-mail–will guarantee that you don’t miss a post!

Red?!  I guess I got bored with aging gracefully...

Red?! I guess I got bored with aging gracefully…

Please also link to your blog in the comments.  I am very interested in reading about your adventures!



The Conversation: Where to Go Next?

Like me, a lot of bloggers have been examining where they are, and planning where they will go next.  Here are a few posts on the topic:

Breaks or Brakes
Brooke re-examines her reasons for writing. Be sure the read the following post, where she introduces her next project!

Blogging Matters
Dan shares the meaning that blogging has brought into his life.

Keep Writing
Ginny gives a good old-fashioned pep talk.

Linda deals with the question we all ask: Am I a hypocrite?

Living Simply
After a blogging break in January, Rachel examine where blogging fits into her life, and shows what her simple life ACTUALLY looks like.

A Writer in Residence
Sandra lives very simply to begin her next project: a novella.

Honoring the Special Turning Points in Our Lives

Kathy reflects on her writing and changes that she has made in her life.

The Book the Could Have Saved Us
It didn’t exist, so CJ and Tammy had to write it!

Lost in Transition
Mark and Jess prepare for some changes, in their creative pursuits.

I hope you’ve found some inspiration here, and please feel free to share any link to other posts you’ve found (or written) on writing, changes, or creative endeavors!


Blogroll–Some Changes (and two new additions)

I have to admit that my blogroll is something that I’ve struggled with. In the early days, I included everyone who commented, but that led to lots of revisions, as many of these people decided that blogging was not for them. Later on, I had a mixture of larger and smaller blogs.

Finally, shortly after leaving Facebook, I was able to clarify my intentions, with keeping a blogroll (or even writing a blog) at all. I wanted a list of blogs that were fresh and different, that were primarily written by the author, that abstained from consumerism, and fostered community. I followed blogs that met these criteria, for at least a month, so that I could be sure that they would exist long-term.

I still ended up with a mix of larger and smaller blogs. I wanted to bring attention to other small minimalist blogs, but there is definitely a need for a list of larger blogs as well. So I have set a different category, “The Standards,” for the blogs that every beginning minimalist (or every person who has an interest in intentional living) should start with.

My primary category, “Small Blogs by People Who Don’t Have a Lot of Stuff,” is reserved for smaller, lesser-known blogs that meet my criteria. These blogs are at the heart of the minimalist community. I correspond with every author on this list, and I consider many to be good friends. If you want community, these are the places to go.

To that end, I have two blogs to add to this list.

1. Hippie Tendencies

Jamie is a Coast Guard wife, a crunchy mom, and a woman who is ready to move away from all that society says we should have and do.  Her light, often humorous, tone is refreshing, and her message is clear and true.  An added note:  Jamie is the only blogger on my list whom I have actually met in real life, as she was a friend of my husband’s, in high school.

2.  Journey to Minimalism

Julia has a passion for the water, and for sailing, and she shares my dream–to live aboard full time.  When you read her blog, you get the feeling that you will eventually witness some major changes happening in her life.

Happy reading!

Business woman having coffee while working at her laptop. - stock vector

Two Year Bloggoversary!

Well, folks, today I have officially been blogging for two years.  And things are a far cry for Our So-Called Life’s beginnings, when this was primarily a “mommy blog,” read mainly by my family and friends.  I never expected to find such a diverse audience, or to still have something to say everyday! 

So, to celebrate the fact that all of you have found your way here, and that I haven’t run out of things to say, I would like to share some of my favorite posts, from over the past two years.

Slice of Life/About Our Family

This is the Bean
This is the mini-me, destined to lead a ridiculously charmed life.

Breaking from Tradition
I bring home the bacon, and Rob does the sewing…How we differ from the norm.

The Journey of 1000 Miles
Beanie read her first word!

Jumping on the Bandwagon (sort of): We Don’t Need Permission!
A response to the Romney/Rosen debate–why we don’t need any popular culture or political figures to endorse our lifestyle.

Life Lessons
One particularly difficult Mother’s day.

Just the Three of Us!
Why we’ll remain a family of three.

Natural/Green Living

Off-the-Grid Tuesday: The Perfect Cup of Coffee
I’ve got it perfected.

Vaccines: Yes, I’m Going There!
It’s a hot button issue, and we all need to be educated.

Kicking the Sugar Habit
Why I gave it up!

Myths About Organic Food
Research cited, debunking a lot of the myths people hold.

A Great Off-the-Grid House!
Our friends’ tiny house, on Beaver Island.

Special Needs/Autism

Discipline and Kids With Language Delays
It’s a bit different, when your kid doesn’t talk much.

This Isn’t Holland
Our journey with the Bean, is not about the destination.

Reality Jolt and Labels
My journey, after I asked to have Beanie tested for Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Stuck in Alpena, Running Aground in Misery Bay, Lamenting, and Our Victorious Return. (And Facing it Again, the next summer).
Our adventures on Thunder Bay.

When the Gales of November Come Early
A rough storm comes through, and causes havok in the marina.

My First Love
Before Moonraker, there was the Sonnet.

Since We’re on Top 10’s…
The top 10 things I love about cruising!

Under the Bridge
Sailing under the Mackinaw Bridge, from Lake Huron to Lake Michigan, is a right of passage on the Lakes.

You Might be a Sailor If…
Some sailing humor!

Lessons Enroute to Manitou
When we almost got to meet the Gichee Manitou, on the way to South Manitou Island.

Back to Reality
The difficulty of returning to life on land.


A Word on Extracurriculars
Why you shouldn’t overbook your child.

Mommy Wars, Mommy Guilt, and Other Fake Ideas Invented by Society
Don’t let them make you feel guilty and competitive!

“You Can Do it All” and Other Lies We Believe
You can’t do it all, and you don’t have to.

Minimalism–Possessions and Decluttering

Mismatched Plates
Some thrift store fun!

Natural Selection and Thrift Store Clothing
The evolution of my minimalist wardrobe.

The Biggest Worry (and why it should be an non-issue)
Don’t worry about what other people think!

Is Simplicity Simpler? A Test
In a fully stocked house, would we still choose simplicity?

Fly Lady Friday: An Interview with “Fly Lady” Marla Cilley
Yes, I interviewed the Fly Lady!

Minimalism: A Beginners’ Guide
How various minimalist bloggers got their start.

You Might be a Minimalist If…
A bit of humor!

Walled in by Possessions
Our possessions keep us from interacting with each other.


Everybody’s a Hypocrite
I’m a hypocrite, and so are you.

The Election is Over–Now Cast Your Vote that Really Counts!
It’s how we live, not just how we vote, that makes the difference.

The Valley of Love and Delight
Finding our way to the “place just right.”

Why I am Unfriending Facebook
A big decision I made, that I still don’t regret.

On Gifts, Giving and Unevenness
Reciprocity is a myth.

Consider, for a Moment…
Consider, that your reality is incorrect.

Moving Beyond Possessions
Minimalism is about more than just getting rid of stuff.

Rethinking the Human “Race”
We are not in competition with each other–at least we don’t have to be!

New Host, New Name, New Perspective
From Our So-Called Life, to Journey to Ithaca.

Clearing Out Emotional Clutter
Getting rid of that clutter in your head.

Life Lessons

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving!
Life begins when the 20’s end!

Control, Worries, and Quieting the Disquiet
A walk on the beach, to clear my mind.

Hafemania: Daring to Soar
My friend’s husband gets some help completing his bucket list.

New Year’s Eve: 1995 and 2000
By far the most personal post I have written–the story of how an upsetting adolescence gave way to a beautiful adulthood.

And, My Personal Favorite Post, Thus Far…

It Matters
Everything we do–great or small–matters more than we realize.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it…And I look forward to many more years!


About my Blogroll

Since many of you have recently joined us, following my move to WordPress, I thought I would take some time to explain my blogroll, as setting it up has been (and still is) an ongoing project.  I’ve done a lot of legwork for you, in finding the blogs that I’ve chosen to share!  Before putting a someone on my blogroll, I follow their blog for at least a month, looking for the following criteria:

1.  Small enough to still be personal.  The big minimalist blogs: The Minimalists, Becoming Minimalist, Zen Habits, Minimalist Mom, etc., all contain a wealth of information, but you don’t need my help finding them.  Instead, I’m looking for smaller blogs that are actually written by the author.  I’m looking for more voice, more community, than out-and-out information.

2.  To be on my list, the author needs to do something to foster community.  That would mean answering comments, answering e-mails, etc.

3.  Updated on a regular basis.  Generally speaking, this would mean at least once a week, although there are exceptions.  But, basically, when I first set up my blogroll, I would start following people who would stop updating, all too frequently.  The people on my list here, are pretty hard-core!

4.  Minimal advertising in posts.  It’s tempting to want freebies and money, but some minimalist bloggers have seriously sold out.  I’ve worked hard to find people who don’t (or very, very rarely) do sponsored posts and other sorts of advertising, under the guise of information. 

So, in case you’re new here, let me re-introduce everyone.

Be More With Less
Yes, this is one of the bigger minimalist blogs, but Courtney does so much to foster community, that I had to include her! An absolute expert on time management, Courtney still replies to her comments and answers every e-mail she receives.

Born Again Minimalist
Caitlyn offers a unique perspective as a relatively newer minimalist. Her posts are extremely honest, and she always generates great discussion.

Farming Your Backyard
Probably the best homesteading blog I’ve ever seen, Kathryn gives tips for self-sufficiency and life without a refrigerator. I’m going to use a lot of her suggestions next summer, when we’re on the boat.

Gold Stars Double Rainbows
Allison and Isiah are living in Paraguay, volunteering with the Peace Corps, and they share their adventures–and their joy–in living this simple, very meaningful lifestyle.

Intentionally Simple
Minimalism and parenthood definitely work well together, and Rachel gives many practical suggestions for living simply, with young children. She has a good mix of practical tips and slice-of-life type posts and pictures.

Just a Little Less
Claire’s blog is charming, and…well…cozy. She focuses not only on the larger ideas of minimalism, but also on the simple delights that make everyday worthwhile.

Little Red Suitcase
Like Claire, Heather focuses on simple pleasures as well, and her beautiful photography and sweet honesty make this blog a must-read.

Living Lagom
Everyday, no matter what happens, we all have the choice to laugh or to cry. And Sandra will always choose the former. She shares her sense of humor, at all of life’s absurdities, as she strives to find “lagom” (Swedish for “just enough”) in all aspects of life.

Living Simply Free
Lois has got a bit of everything! She tackles both the practical and philosophical aspects of minimalism. My favorites: her repurposed trash and thrift store finds, and her extensive list of links (be prepared to do a LOT of reading!) every Friday.

Miss Minimalist
This is another larger blog, but I had to include it, because Francine’s blog is definitely the hub of the minimalist community! Francine has been taking some time off, enjoying her toddler and all that motherhood has to offer, but she still features “Real Life Minimalist” guest posts once a week.

Plastic is Rubbish
“Polyethyline Pam” travels the world, completely avoiding plastic! Her blog is very action-oriented, featuring pictures of polluted areas, out-of-control-trash and tips for living life without plastic.

Simply Super Kim
Kim gave up a high-paying job to move closer to her family, and re-invented herself, as a minimalist, in the process! She focuses mainly on the philosophical side of minimalism, with a few practical tips in-between.

Slow Your Home
I’ve already shared Brooke’s book with you, but you also need to check out her blog! Just like in her book, Brooke’s emphasis is on being intentional with time, but she also gives many practical tips for decluttering and organizing.

Smallish Blog
All right, so it was the title that made me want to check out this blog! Evelyn and her family moved to a small house, which she calls the “Shoebox,” and she shares their adventures in living in a “smallish” space.

Streamlined Living
Sandy is new to the minimalist blogging community, and she shares tips and stories from her simple life, with a toddler. She has a mix of philosophical and practical posts.

The Ramble
Gigi travels around the world, living simply and seeing all there is to see. Her blog focuses mainly on telling stories–very good stories!–about her adventures.

The Simple Year
Kerry and her family are buying nothing new for an entire year! She shares amusing stories, tips, and lessons learned from her project.

Writing from Afar
An adventurer, Tony began his blog with a very specific destination in mind. But, gradually, his focus has changed from fixating on the end goal, to getting all that he can out of the journey. His stories are definitely my favorite aspect of his blog, where he also shares tips for living intentionally with time and money.

Zach Aboard
Cindy’s two children–Zach and his little sister, Naia–have never lived on land! She shares beautiful pictures, stories, and ideas from their life aboard the Majestic. My favorite posts are the ones about sailing–we definitely share the same passion!

Zen Presence
Dan’s writing focuses on Zen philosophy, intentional living, anti-consumerism, and sustainable living. So he has a very diverse audience with some great discussion! Dan’s writing is brilliant in its simplicity–he can make a point beautifully in very few words.

Happy reading everyone!


Some Good Laughs for Your Day

Good morning! (Or afternoon, or evening!) Today, I thought a little bit of humor would make this winter day a little brighter.

We minimalists tend to get very serious. I know that, on many occasions, I realize that I have gotten VERY heavy (in my writing, folks!) and need to lighten things up a bit. And the dark winter seems to bring about more need for the very silly.


Unwelcome Houseguest Get the Shovel
When you’re living in Paraguay with the Peace Corps, anything can happen…

No Big Deal!
Rachel is a big proponent of my favorite parenting philosophy, CTFO (“Chill the F Out”) parenting!

It’s Just Hair–Right?
If you want something lighthearted, Sandra is your source.

A Reason for Two Bathrooms, Just for One Morning
Having kids just requires that you have a sense of humor!

When Two Boys Share a Room, Naps Elude
Parenting always provides lots of humorous material.

Unapologetically Cheap
I’m not the only one who has tightwad pride!

Little Miss Muffet’s First Name and Other Stuff I Didn’t Know Before
Gigi learns a lot of funny lessons in her travels. Enjoy!

Mr. Carrot
Get ready to shield your eyes!

Stories for the Twitter Generation
We did this last year, when I taught sixth grade English.

Weather Tricks and Real Tricks
Remember hurricane Sandy? Cindy and the crew of the Magestic make fun of the hysteria, while they ride the storm out.

Sometimes you have to do something ridiculous.

Hope that brightens your day a little. Feel free to share any other minimalist humor!

The January Conversation: Moving Beyond Decluttering

There’s something about January. Maybe it’s the New Year, maybe it’s the fact that days are getting longer, maybe it’s because we’re all stuck inside, with nothing else to do but think. But, whatever the reason, this January has led to some very insightful discussions in the minimalism blogging world.

Here are some of my favorite posts from this month, guaranteed to give you something to think about!

There is More to Simplicity that Getting Simple
Once you’re done decluttering, will your life feel full? Not unless you find something to fill the empty spaces you’ve created.

Minimalist Monday: Redefining SuccessIt always bugged me, that “successful” people are those with the most money and stuff. Here is a different way to define it.

Overcommitment and StressWe don’t know how to say “no,” and we wear our stress and busy-ness like a badge. But there is a better way.

In this day and age, more than ever, being truly connected to each other is important.

The Case for an Ordinary Life
There is something to be said for living a good, ordinary life.

How to Stop Wasting Your Life
We’re only given so much time, so let’s use it well.

Simple Thoughts: Fully Present
Being fully present, in the moment, takes practice. But it is worth it.

Where Simplicity Begins
It doesn’t begin with a trip to Goodwill.

Have a great day, and happy reading

Top Posts of 2012

Well, I changed the date of Christmas for our family, so why not change the date of New Year’s as well?

This is the second New Year’s post that I have done, and I’m definitely in a different place with this blog, and in life, than I was a year ago. In sailing, we’ve not conquered–but escaped from–Thunder Bay, and we saw the bottom side of the Mackinaw Bridge as we made our way to Lake Michigan, our new love. Doing this has helped us to clarify our dreams and long-term plans, as far as sailing is concerned.

We’ve gotten our possessions to nearly the perfect amount, where we can focus on other things in our daily lives. We’re beginning to be more mindful of our spending, and we made it through the holidays without any money worries.

I’ve gained the courage to advocate for my daughter, as she enters kindergarten next year. Gently, but confidently, I am able to ask for the supports that she needs, accepting that she needs them–and that her possibilities are still endless.

And, I made the decision to leave Facebook, which has led to the development of some very strong, lifelong friendships. You’ve all helped, supported, and encouraged me more than you could ever know. I only hope I’ve done the same for you.

These are the top 10 posts of 2012, based on visits.

My Real-Life Minimalist Post, on Miss Minimalist
This post written for Miss Minimalist, so technically it wasn’t a post on this blog, but it’s what brought most of you here.

An Interview With “Fly Lady” Marla Cilley
Last fall, I had the honor of interviewing the Fly Lady herself!

Is Simplicity Simpler? A Test
Anchored out on Thunder Bay last June, we lived in a house with every modern convenience we could want. Did having access to these make our lives simpler?

Control, Worries, and Quieting the Disquiet
“And it’s out here that I see the true futility of worrying. Yes, as prepared as we are, storms can still come up out of nowhere. Equipment can still fail. But if we spent all of our time worrying about that, we would miss the beauty around us. We would miss our reason for being here.”

Natural Selection and Thrift Store Clothing
Minimalist-style retail therapy!

Just the Three of Us!
Celebrating our little family of three.

A Great Off-the-Grid House
Our friends’ tiny house on Beaver Island.

Quiet Journey to Rogers City
After being weathered in a Presque Isle for a week, we made our break, over calm waters.

Sunday Supper: Buddha Bowls
An easy way to eat simply and inexpensively.

Rethinking the Plans
Rough weather led us to leave our anchorage on Thunder Bay a week early.

Well, have a happy new year, everyone, and I think 2013 will have even more great adventures!

Some New Additions

I’m always looking for new blogs to follow, and new, interesing people to meet, new people to bring into what I jokingly term our “exclusive clique.” (You see, it’s a joke because we’re not exclusive in the least, but I pretend that we’re the cool kids).

Anyway, if you like sharing ideas with People Who Don’t Have a Lot of Stuff (or, if you prefer, PWD HALOS), here are some more blogs that I think you will enjoy. I followed these for awhile, using the same criteria that I used for the rest of my blogroll.

Be More With Less
If you haven’t read Courtney Carver’s writing yet, then you absolutely need to! This is a larger blog, but has a very strong community. Courtney’s message is overwhelmingly positive, and the discussions are lengthy and intellectual. Courtney is never too busy to join in the discussion or correspond with her readers.

Born Again Minimalist
Caitlin has a refreshingly idealistic approach to life, and her posts will definitely make you think. She inspires a great deal of discussion, and is not afraid to touch on touchy issues, without ever coming across as judgmental.

My Little Red Suitcase
This is just a delightful, very slice-of-life blog that will make you smile. Heather has a very charming personality, that always shows through in her sweetly honest writing.

Smallish Blog
Crunchy homemaking and minimalism often go hand-in-hand, and both are themes in Evelyn’s blog. Her tone is always upbeat and light-hearted, as she shares ideas for living a rich life in a tiny space.

So there is some good reading for you to do, on these cold, snowy days (at least it’s cold and snowy for those of us who live in cooler climates!). I will continue stalking other blogs, looking for more people with great ideas and big hearts. So, by all means, share any recommendations that you have!