Monthly Archives

November 2015

Europe

Honeymoon in Europe

Well to start things off we decided that we wanted to go on a big adventure for our honeymoon. We had tossed around ideas about going to Fiji, as one of my life goals is to visit there before I turn 30! I have have always been in love with island life ever since reading Robinson Crusoe. Even Koro (our 1st born) got his name from an Island in Fiji that we would love to live on.

We eventually decided upon doing a backpacking trip around Europe visiting a few different places. We put a list together trying to decide where to go and eventually ended up deciding upon London, Prague, Rome, and Paris. It was intense! But we wouldn’t have changed it for the world. The trip was quite the experience, not everything went as planned, as is the case with any vacation or adventure which also happens to be half the fun, not to mention the most memorable moments.

I started planning the trip with flight searches to determine the cheapest option as far as air fare goes. No sense in overpaying for a flight! No matter what it will be uncomfortable and bring you to the same place. I use cheapoair and google flights to find the lowest fares for travel. Ended up being a flight from Chicago to London with a 60min layover in Dublin and then on the way back we would spend the night in Dublin with about a 13hr layover.
After scouring searches for our connecting flights to the different cities that we wanted to visit I finally ended up with our temporary itinerary of London 1 night, Prague 3 nights, Rome 3 nights, Paris 2 nights, London 2 nights, and finally 1 night in Dublin. I Tried to maximize the days with having travel either in the morning or afternoon. I will be writing more about our trip but just wanted to give a quick overview. If you would like to check out some of our videos from our trip here is our playlist on youtube. FYI These are my first videos that I made and have since improved my shooting and editing lol.

Our School Bus Conversion School Bus Conversion Videos

Skoolie Conversion Update #16 Winterize the Bus

Alright well a big thank you to all of my youtube subscribers! (subscribe here) 65, as I write this post, how awesome!

So we went to the bus yesterday and drove down to the bp which is about 3 miles down a gravel frontage road. Luckily there was basically no snow  on it just some mud and a whole bunch of pot holes. I had read on skoolie.net about winterizing the bus as well as done a few other google searches and determined that I definetly needed to fill the tank up.

When we got back from Baltimore I left a little less than half a tank when I parked it. I had not researched anything on winterizing the bus yet and did not know that it would be better to have a full tank. Reason being condensation will not be able to form. I also topped off the coolant since we emptied out a fair amount when getting rid of the heaters. I put back in about a gallon and a half. Also got some great news the coolant line bypass had zero leaks so that is a huge plus.

Other than the full tank I decided I would also put in some winter fuel stabilizer. I put in a little bit more per gallon than they recommended, but I do not foresee that being a problem. In the spring I will be replacing the fuel filter as well as taking it to a shop to get a tuneup, and oil change. Not to mention getting rid of the governor 51mph as well. I also decided to disconnect the batteries as well and seeing as how we just bought them on the way home from Maryland so I’m also going to bring them home to keep out of the cold as well. I think that they would be fine left in the bus but better safe than sorry. But if you think I should just leave them there let me know.

Other than that we swept up a bit more and that’s about it. Just a quick run over to the bus as I had to change my schedule for Thanksgiving. The good news is with all of the wires that I have removed from the bus it still fires up and runs like a champ! It was purring like a kitten the whole time and was an absolute blast to drive minus the potholes lol. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the video!!

Captains Log

Star Date 11-19-15

Let me start by saying thank you to all of my subscribers out there on youtube!!! We are over 50 subscribers and as I type this we currently have 59, I can not express how thankful I am for each and everyone of you. It really does mean a lot to myself as well as Breanna that people enjoy watching as well as reading about us.

I would like to share with everyone how stupid I think America/Americans are as well as the porta potty of a nation that we are becoming. How the hell can you think it is ok to just change history! Here is what got me thinking about how fucking stupid we are Texas: We don’t need academics to fact-check our textbooks. Come on really! We don’t want to make sure our future generations are learning actual history instead let’s just go ahead and make shit up. Calling slaves workers is like calling the holocaust a misunderstanding between Germans and Jews.

This is more of a side note Dumbass Presidential Campaign: How do you not know what the United States of America looks like on a map? Oh wait I figured it out! You must have went to school in Texas!  (I have a feeling that it was released intentionally)

I don’t really have an update on much else other than the holidays are approaching fast and work on the bus and jeep will come to a screaming stop pretty soon. We were over at the bus the other day cleaning up and what not. Unfortunately no video or anything as all we did was sweep and take out all the trash. Got some projects I would like to get done that I had mentioned in the last skoolie update. I am preparing to just crank out most of the work in the spring as I personally am not a fan of the cold and don’t see myself working on the bus in the winter. Well thanks for reading more updates, info, and the like coming soon!!

Breanna's Journal

Why I Love Picking Up Horse Crap

n1  n2 n3

I often get asked how I like working with horses. I always elaborate on how much I love it + usually the other person agrees that I must have a dream job. That is, until they find out I spend half my time picking up horse poop.

Now, what if I told you that’s one of my favorite parts of my job? You’d think I was crazy. But here my side first

n5 n6 nn7

I grew up riding horses at a saddlebred barn in Shorewood, IL called Northern Tradition Farm. I called this place home for a many number of years. This is where I first learned how to ride, showed horses for the first time, taught lessons as an instructor, & became completely obsessed with horses. Growing up I was like most kids, self-conscious, awkward, and just wanted to fit in. During this time in my life, the barn was my “safe place”. All your fears about growing up get lost when you go to muck out a stall. Mucking out stalls is relaxing for me. It’s something you just can’t mess up. The poop gets put into the bucket, end of story. While standing in a filthy stall, your biggest problem is filling up a wheelbarrow.

n9

While in a stall not only do you get to connect with the horse that’s in there, but you also get to make awesome friends. I promise you, the friends you make aren’t as poopy as the manure itself. Emily + I have been mucking out stalls for years together (she was even in my wedding) & plan to ride horses into the sunset one day with our hair waving in the wind. Without Emily I probably would have quit riding a long time ago. Whenever I was frustrated with a horse or myself she would encourage me to keep going.

d1

Working at Danada Equestrian Center has been fantastic. My biggest problem is I have to clean up manure after 19 horses and 6 of them being at least part draft. But I did get an upgrade, instead of scooping poop from stalls, I get to watch the sunrise + horses freely frolicking. Seriously, I have some of the best views from the top of the hill with shovel in hand. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve met some great horses and friends along the way. Like Lindsey, were the terrible two when together. We’re exactly the same while being the exact opposite. She’s Eeyore + i’m tigger. She’s also vegetarian and loves kombucha as much as I do. They made the mistake of hiring us at the same time and now some of the volunteers can’t tell us apart.

d9 d6 d2

I’ll be honest, when I get to work at 8:00 in the morning after going to bed at 2am, I don’t want to work very hard or deal with anything complicated. I can be cranky and irritable in the morning so I don’t want to chat with anyone either. That’s why picking the mud lot is what I look forward to. It’s just a pick, the wheelbarrow, and me. We duke it out. I don’t have to wake up and make big decisions on how to save the world or end world hunger. All I have to do is pick up horse shit. Oh and look at the scenery.

d5 d4 d7

I must not get enough horse poop at Danada because on Tuesday each week I volunteer at the Hanson Center Riding Arena where I (drumroll please) pick up more poop! They hold horseback riding lessons for people who have special needs & disabilities. We as volunteers work with riders who have autism, down syndrome, behavior issues, and much more, but we love them all the same. This is our way of giving the love of horses to some people who need it the most. For some of our riders this is the highlight of their week and we do our best to give them a great time. Being a volunteer here has made me the appreciate my physical and mental health. 

h4  h2 h1

Not only do I get to work with some inspirational riders, but I also have made some great friends along the way. Our Tuesday group is one of a kind and I wouldn’t be as dedicated to going without them there. At the Hanson Center we’re like family. Goes to show how horse poop brings people together.

h3

Not only did I learn about working with riders with disabilities, I got to shareboard my first horse. It was love at first sight. During the first week of him being at the Hanson Center, I fell in love with his demeanor + sweet personality. Although I no longer shareboard him, I still throw him carrots on Tuesday nights. Shareboarding didn’t just bring me closer to Romeo, but I also met two new friends, Jackie + Cassandra. We all share boarded Romeo together, because 3 is better than 1. Please tell me you see the benefits now of scooping horse poop.

Breanna's Journal

Pumbaa is Here!

p8

I remember the first day I laid eyes on Pumbaa like it happened yesterday.

I was at home waiting for Josiah to get finished with his shift at Xerox. He called me on his break and said “Don’t look at Hinsdale Humane Society‘s website, but there’s chow mix puppies on there & they’re so cute.” Of course I had to look. & man were they adorable. So as soon as Josiah got off work, we headed over with Koro + met our future Pumbaa.

Her + Koro didn’t hit it off exactly how we planned, but after some tumbling they seemed to be doing well. The staff there assured us that Koro was just teaching Pumbaa the ropes and some well needed manners. That night we decided Pumbaa would be the next addition to our family. Pumbaa was nine-weeks old & barely weighed in at 1o pounds. I have to say Pumbaa is the cutest puppy I have ever seen. Go ahead and try to argue with me, I’m just going to leave these here.

p5 p88 p6

Once again we’re not so sure about Pumbaa’s breeding. She may be chow + german shepherd. Pumbaa is an awesome dog who is super friendly to whomever she meets. She can be weary of strange men and screaming children. Tantruming babies seem to frighten her the most, as she gets upset with the screams. She also loves meeting new dog friends. When we first got Pumbaa she got car sick easily and would turn green. Now she fights with Koro for window space. We aren’t sure how Pumbaa will like the bus, but we’re hoping that with time she will learn to love it and know it as home.

I have to say Pumbaa is the most loyal dog I know. She will wait at the back door for you to come home. Even on nights I get home from work at 2am, she won’t go to sleep till I get home. She knows the sounds of our cars pulling in and runs into the kitchen turning on the sensor light for us.

 p89 ppp ppp8

Her and Koro are pals. She’s his annoying little sister and whenever she gets nervous she looks to him. On walks she always has to smell whatever he is investigating. She actually didn’t sniff at much until observing Koro do so. When we go to park she always follows Koro and won’t venture off without him. It was Koro who taught her about going into the brush and chasing the squirrels up trees. They don’t always agree but at the end of the day, they always snuggle up.

Having two high energy dogs always creates chaos at home, but we wouldn’t want it any other way. Thank you to Hinsdale Society for making our house a home.

Breanna's Journal Veggie Life

My Favorite Pain Free Beauty Products

Beauty is Pain. But that pain doesn’t have to involve cute + innocent beagles.

Sponsor Free Post

I had heard the rumors several times about beagles being used for testing makeup, but it wasn’t until I read the book “The Dog Lived (and so will I)” that I made a commitment to using cruelty free products. Teresa L. Rhyne inspired me to become a vegan like herself. Through reading her book I learned that being a vegan isn’t just about the food we eat, it’s actually a lifestyle. She gave me the drive to find products that I’d love from brands I could trust to be cruelty free.

beagle testing 2

Finding cruelty free products can be difficult at first, but once you get started it’s easier than you think. I generally get everything from Ulta. They have several brands that are cruelty-free & vegan. Just be careful because as helpful as their employees may seem, they don’t always know about cruelty free products. I made a mistake a while back trusting a sales rep, she told me Lancome was cruelty free. She had assumed they were because they’re both under the same parent company, L’oreal. Totally cruelty-free products are hard to find. Some companies are cruelty-free except when they mandated, like selling to China. So if you know different about the products I use below, please let me know in the comments.

These are the cruelty-free products that I use on a daily basis + my review of them:

Body Wash:

Hempz Pomegranate Moisture Herbal Body Wash. I love the way this stuff smells & how it lathers up really nice. It’s Vegan + Cruelty-free.

Body Scrub:

Anatomicals The Buff Stuff, Citrus Body Scrub. It’s okay, it smells good but doesn’t lather well and I feel like I have to use a lot to get a good lather. vegan + cruelty-free!

Face Wash:

Pacifica’s Kale Detox Deep Cleansing Face Wash. My husband and I love the way it makes our faces feel afterwards. The only thing I don’t like is that it advertises it removes makeup, but it has this weird way of smudging my mascara under my eyes. Maybe it’s because I use waterproof mascara. Beside’s that it keeps my acne away and my face feeling awesome. I also love how on their products they make it easy to see that they’re vegan + cruelty-free.

Face Wipes:

I also use Pacifica’s face wipes as well to remove makeup from my face. These also don’t work the best for getting off mascara and other eye makeup. On the upside they are vegan +cruelty-free.

I just purchased and have yet to try Tarte’s Fresh Eyes Waterproof Makeup Remover Wipes. They were a little pricier but should be able to wipe my eyes free of mascara and eyeshadow. They were $12 for a pack of 30 at my local Ulta. Not everything from Tarte is vegan, but this specific product is vegan + cruelty-free.

Shampoo + Conditioner combos: 

Paul Mitchell’s Color Care Daily Shampoo & Daily Conditioner. I no longer use this product due to how greasy it made my hair. Paul Mitchell is cruelty-free but not completely vegan due to using beeswax and select other ingredients.

Active Products is my current prefered brand. They are color safe and never fade out my color. It’s hard for me to find products that don’t make my hair greasy, but these never do. The only downside to this brand is that I have only been able to find them for sale at the Colorific near my house. They also sold at a limited number of salons. Check their website for locations. They are vegan + cruelty free.

Deodorant:

Tom’s of Maine Wild Lavender Deoderant is what I currently use. It’s nothing exciting but it gets the job done. Sometime it can wear off if I’m having a very active day, so double application may be needed. The upside of this product is that I can find it at my local Walgreens + Meijer. Tom’s of Maine is vegan + cruelty-free.

Captains Log

Star Date 11-13-15

I put new rear shocks on the jeep the other day I also was going to do the front but ordered the wrong ones. I ended up going with Rancho 9000 Xl and am very happy with them so far and cannot wait to get the fronts done. Overall the process was very simple just a pain in the ass with the tires being so large but was able to work around that by propping them up on my legs lol.

Jeep tire change

Breanna said it best “Your Shit Will Set You Free” we have been doing a great job at downsizing our life. Getting rid of stuff has been a very easy process for myself. There are very few items that hold so much sentimental value that prevents me from getting rid of it. I almost feel that I have been living a minimalistic lifestyle to some degree for quite some time without even knowing it.

We also haven’t made it down to the basement where I keep items I don’t use frequently. We are planning on downsizing the basement in the spring when we move into the bus. However most items that are down there will be coming along as it is our camping gear and other outdoor items. However I am looking forward to getting rid of the items that will not be coming with us. Such as one of the dumbest items a 150 gallon fish tank that I never got set up.

I will be writing a post about my decision to move towards a meatless diet but wanted to just share a quick update about that. It’s HARD if you didn’t guess that already! However it is not impossible as there are so many options with meatless substitutes. I wish it was as simple as downsizing our possessions.

Our School Bus Conversion

Winter Is Comming

Well winter is right around the corner not to mention the holidays and new year. Original plan was to have our skylight installed, spray foam completed, and floor installed with insulation and ¾” plywood. Well none of those items have happened lol.

So I may have been a little too optimistic when goal planning originally and still am a bit optimistic as I would like to be completed in June of 2016. But here it goes this will be the timeline that we will hopefully be able to follow (fingers crossed).

November

Fill up tank and winterize engine

Remove front bulk head.

Clean

Dependent on temps we will also apply ospho to all rusted areas as well as use fiberglass to cover all the holes in the foor.

If we are able to get those items taken care of we will also then paint on some rustoleum

So what if the weather does not cooperate with my days off??? The back up plan is going to be to clean up the floor as best I can then cover it in cardboard so there is no metal exposed.

December to March

We will be using this time to acquire items for the build as well as this is going to be out layout planning stage. I watched a video not that long ago about a stealth van conversion and how he made a full scale version from cardboard before building for the perfect layout and design. immediately a light bulb went off in my head that this is the best way for us to determine our layout.

With making a full scale model in the bus out of cardboard we will be able to make changes quickly to determine exactly what we are looking for with our layout.  Not to mention this will hopefully speed up the build come spring time because everything will already have a predefined place.

March/April

Depending on if we are able to get the floor in the next couple of weeks this will be the first project in the spring.

Next will be installing the skylight.

Install main support for rooftop deck.

Have spray foam installed

Build bed/floating floor frame.

May

Frame bathroom walls

Run pex for plumbing

Install Kitchen sink and cabinets

Build main couch area

Install Ceiling

June

Run all electric

Paint Roof/Bus

Install Solar Panels

Build Rooftop Deck

There are many mini projects that I have not listed here but this gives a good general overview. I have a feeling that we will be able to move much quicker in the spring as i will be able to use some vacation days to have three day weekends to work on the bus. Not to mention the fact that we would like to use it over the summer as well. As always thanks for reading about and watching us always appreciate the support and if you want to stay updated with our new life subscribe to our youtube channel and website for up to date info. AND DON’T FORGET WINTER IS COMING!!!

images (1)

Breanna's Journal

Meet Koro!

First off, don’t shop, ADOPT!

We first found Koro when looking for a puppy to adopt. We had our hearts set on rescuing a shiba inu puppy. As we browsed the Hinsdale Humane Society’s website, we stumbled across 5 month old Koro, who was listed as a shiba inu mix. He also had a twin there who looked more like a sheltie mix. It didn’t matter, we had to have him. We still don’t know much about Koro’s breeding & to be honest we don’t care. Often we refer to him as a our LBD, little brown dog.

37805_10151723303346925_1008978450_n

We raced off to the Hinsdale Humane Society and met with Koro that night. He was kinda nervous and a bit standoffish, but as we got out some toys, we totally bonded. We learned that him, his brother, and his mom had all been rescued from a high-kill shelter in St. Louis, MO. We called the rescue the next day after thinking it over & made Koro officially ours. We would have him within the next few days after taking a trip to the vet. That night we went on a shopping spree so our new puppy would feel right at home. A few days later we picked him up from the Naperville Animal Hospital & we’ve been rubbing his belly ever since. Josiah was the one responsible for coming up with his name. No it’s not Coral, Kora, or Carob. It’s K-O-R-O (pronounced core-o). It’s an island off of Fiji, one of Josiah’s dream places to vacation before he turns 30.

This is my all time favorite picture of Koro. I was getting ready to go to class one morning and he has stolen an apple from my backpack when I wasn't looking.

As soon as we could, we got Koro signed up for obedience classes at Narnia Dog Training. He actually loves obedience, he excels at it. He wants nothing more than to get a trick right, and you can tell he’s proud of himself. He’s a happy go lucky puppy who loves napping and eating goldfish crackers. But don’t ever wake him up. It’s like waking a ferocious monster. He loves going on long walks and covering himself in skunk pee by violently flopping into it. It’s a sight to see. He looks so happy doing it that I just can’t stop him, which of course leads to many baths. meet koro

He loves to run. Koro can run faster than any dog at the dog park. He’s super speedy and can take tight turns. Sadly, we don’t take Koro to the dog park anymore, because he has been diagnosed with little dog syndrome. He didn’t always used to be that way + it breaks my heart that he isn’t very friendly to dogs he’s never met. But it’s not all his fault. One day while playing at the Whalon Lake Dog Park he was attacked by a standard poodle named Moca. If one looks on his nose they can see where he still has a scar. Koro came running towards me with his tail between his legs and a gash on his nose. Also, it doesn’t help we live in a neighborhood where people seem to find it acceptable to let their dogs roam free with no care in the world. We constantly run into stray dogs on our walks and Koro hates this. So yes, my dog Koro is an asshole, but it’s not all his fault. He’s been getting much better at ignoring other dogs and we even had a bark + growl -free time at The Morton Arboretum last Saturday during one of their dog days, where hundreds of dogs were present.

603158_10151839292806925_1405218388_n

All in all, Koro is a great dog + we wouldn’t trade him for anything. He’s the best cuddler, loves car rides, will eat your food so you don’t get fat, & is always up for an adventure. We are blessed everyday to have him in our home. We think he will enjoy being on the bus and we plan on making him his own little spot to look out window. He’s already visited the bus and didn’t hesitate to jump right into it.

734252_10151390965311925_852451311_n

So go home + hug your dog, because they truly are man’s best friend.

Veggie Life

Vegan Ice Cream Is Awesome

So many people assume that just because something is vegan, it can’t possibly taste good.

Well they’re wrong.

I LOVE ICE CREAM. It’s actually my favorite food group. So trust me when I say this stuff is like crack. Growing up my dad + I would go “out for ice cream”. Living in the Chicago burbs we always went for Oberweis Ice Cream. Sadly, most ice cream isn’t vegan but there are some great alternatives which can be equally good or even better.

So Delicious makes some good vanilla ice cream with an almond milk base. Personally, I like So Delicious‘ Almond Milk line the best. I’ve also tried their chocolate flavored ice cream with a coconut milk base. Sometimes I think the coconut milk based ice creams have a protein powder taste to them instead of being uber creamy.

BUT MY ULTIMATE FAVORITE IS…

steves-speculoos

Steve’s Speculoos Cookie Butter, end of story. Oh, no big deal or anything, but it’s also award winning. I was weary of the coconut milk base, but it turns out I love it. I found it at my local Mariano’s grocery store. Sadly, I haven’t been able to find it anywhere else. They do have a ton more flavors, which aren’t all vegan, so make sure to read the label. Their Cookie Butter flavor is their only flavor I have had so far. I’m hoping to soon try their also vegan Wildflower Honey Pistachio + their Cold Brewed Cinnamon Coffee flavor.

So what are you waiting for?? GO GET SOME!

I love sweets. So if you have one you love, let me know in the comments below, so I can try it too!