Our Glamping Vacation in a California A-Frame Cabin

A-Frame cabin in the California redwoods

One young teacher + one freelance blogger = how many years without a kid-free vacation? Ten years! But boy, was it worth the wait. This week Phil and I celebrate ten years of marriage, move into a new home, and return from our dream vacation with Glamping Hub! Talk about a whirlwind week! And I’m so excited to share it all with you.

First let’s talk about this charming can’t-believe-it’s-real cabin we stayed at in Cazadero, California! After two days tromping around San Francisco on foot (no camera because I wanted to be in a vacation frame of mind, leaving behind any sense of blogging responsibilities), we drove up the Pacific coast, stopped in Bodega Bay (to complete my Alfred Hitchcock sight-seeing tour), and finally rested our weary bodies in this dreamy a-frame cabin by Austin Creek.

A-Frame cabin in the California redwoods

Glamping in California

Phil and I both love to read, though we don’t find too much time to lose ourselves in books when we’re in the midst of work and family life at home. We both enjoyed the peaceful sounds of nature in the redwoods, along with the trickling water of the creek, as we relaxed on Adirondack chairs with coffee and our books. If you were following along with my Instagram posts, you’ll have seen the two books I read during this trip, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth and The Nix. I enjoyed them both, but The Nix was superb!

A-Frame cabin in the California redwoods

A-Frame cabin in the California redwoods

Just existing for two days in this cool cabin was a real treat for me. It had everything we needed, so we cooked all of our food here and enjoyed selecting records that we listened to from the time we woke up until the time we went to bed. We stopped in Santa Cruz and picked up groceries at Trader Joe’s at the beginning of the trip, and I have to confess— we bought a box of pancake mix and bottle of maple syrup and used it all up before the week was out! Pancakes for breakfast each day? Now that’s how to vacation properly!

The property also has a vintage Airstream trailer to sleep extra guests, but since it was just the two of us, we spent our time in the main cabin.

Glamping in California

A-Frame cabin in the California redwoods

The record collection at the cabin was pretty varied, to my delight! I started out listening to The Ventures and the Beach Boys to get into the California mood, but by dinnertime we were ready for jazz and candlelight. :)

A-Frame cabin in the California redwoods

A-Frame cabin in the California redwoods

vintage a-frame cabin

A-Frame cabin in the California redwoods

A-Frame cabin in the California redwoods

A-Frame cabin in the California redwoods

A-Frame cabin in the California redwoods

Glamping in California

The property also has the coolest little sauna area, which would be nice for the cooler evenings. We didn’t end up using it, but probably would’ve if we had stayed for another day. We did, however, fully utilize the hammock!

A-Frame cabin in the California redwoods

A-Frame cabin in the California redwoods

Glamping in California

We were so thrilled to finally be able to get away, just the two of us, for the first time since our honeymoon ten years ago. Many thanks to our Glamping Hub hosts! I’ll be sharing the second place we stayed at soon, but in the meantime, I’ll be dreaming of our next trip to Cali.

A-Frame cabin in the California redwoods

We’re Buying a House!

Mandi Makes a New Home

You guys! Something absolutely crazy is happening in my life. On Saturday, April 1st (yes, April Fool’s Day), I asked Phil if he wanted to go to an open house for an amazing 1970s house I found on Zillow that had a CONVERSATION PIT in the living room! He said, “Sure!” We talked about how fun it would be to move, how ready we were, and how we should probably start getting our house ready to sell. Not that this ’70s house would be “the one.” But you know, this was a fun idea, and it made us realize we should probably gear up to sell our house and move on to the next adventure.

Fast forward to the next day, we attended the open house and fell in love. Should’ve seen it comin’. We wanted to put an offer in, and we were even pre-approved for a mortgage to do so. But we decided this was financially stupid, seeing as how we weren’t even close to being ready to put our house on the market. Two mortgages? Yeah, no.

So, I got on Instagram, shared the day through live videos, and then ended the day telling you all that we were going to put our house on the market in two weeks. Maybe we could get it on the market in time to put an offer in on that amazing ’70s house! Crazy, right?! But something even crazier happened the next day.

A friend of mine texted me to tell me he knew someone interested in our house. I let her see it that evening, and she was very interested. And Phil and I were very excited. That week, I barely slept. I worked on our house night and day, preparing it to sell. I wanted to move, and I wanted to move badly. Well, six days later we entered into contract with the absolute perfect buyer for our home, and had been crushed to find out our dream home was already in contract as well. Wow, what a whirlwind! I had been emotionally to the moon and back (and then back to the moon?) and while I was sad to have missed out on what I knew would’ve been an amazing house, I was excited about taking our time to find a new house, as we saved money while living with our parents while we waited. How many months would it take? We didn’t know. The thought of waiting and not knowing if or when to settle made me very stir crazy. Would we ever find what we wanted and in our budget?!

Mandi Makes a New Home

But then I found the above images on Zillow for a house I had scrolled past countless times— its lead image showed a boring looking home which lacked curb appeal— nothing about its exterior photos that would lead me to think this could be “the one.” I remember (because it wasn’t that long ago— ha!) clicking through the photos thinking, “Hmmm… I could work with that!” And Phil said, “You could work with that, but do you really love it? Is it really ‘the one’?” I said, “No, probably not.” But I made an appointment to see it the next day anyway. And wow— it was so perfect for us!

We had made a list of qualifications for our dream home, but figured we’d not be able to find a place that met all the criteria. At least, not in our price point. Still, we needed to start somewhere. So here’s what we put on our list:

An entryway separate from the rest of the house, a large kitchen open to a dining area big enough for my heirloom farmhouse table, a private office for Phil big enough for a sofa and chairs for his mentoring and Bible studies, an office for me that was big enough to work on all of my crafts and projects, a large great room with high ceilings, a basement with potential for finishing down the road, a room the kids could call their own (to house most of their toys), three bedrooms, two baths, a two car garage, a decent yard, not on a busy road, in a nice neighborhood, and a house that was asking for cosmetic upgrades, but didn’t need big renovation done. WHEW! What a list, right? And did I mention, our budget was around 175k? Ha!

Well, what would you know, we sold our house and found that exact house (that met all of our criteria and then some— partially finished basement, 3 and a half baths, and a three car garage) and got it for the exact price we were hoping for! We are basically in shock. So much is changing so quickly, and my far off house dreams are coming true in such a short amount of time. I keep thinking I’m going to wake up and find out this was all a really fun dream. (Please don’t pinch me.)

Mandi Makes a New Home

If all goes according to plan (we trust God that it will), we’ll be  closing on our new house at the beginning of June and will be starting renovations on the first floor immediately. We are ripping out all of the flooring material, removing much of the cabinetry in the kitchen, rearranging the cabinetry to move the oven to a different wall, and oh, so much more! Check out my video tour of the house on my Facebook page here, and see my inspiration images for the house below. So excited to share this entire crazy journey with you guys!

click images to see where I found each one

white living room earthy accents

Floating shelving around floor to ceiling fireplace

Open Pantry System

california modern

velvet banquette

gray lower cabinets, white and gray subway tile

neutral kitchen with floating shelves

Remembering the Beauty of Shopping Local

Evenflo Sibby Stroller

“My prediction. [Our] mall has only 2-3 years left on this earth. I’m being generous.” That’s what a the Facebook status of a friend read last month, and it generated quite the discussion. Most people were shocked and disagreed. Those people apparently hadn’t heard the stories in the news lately that malls all over the nation have been closing up shop for good, leaving vacant, ghostly shopping centers in their wake. Some people aren’t surprised by the decline of American malls. Online shopping is at an all time high, but more than that, people seem to gravitate towards a more boutique experience at specialty stores run by cheerful (and helpful) small business owners. Are all malls doomed? Certainly not. But the way we shop is definitely shifting, and as I considered my own reclusive shopping habits, I felt a bit sheepish, and, well… guilty.

The friend who made the provocative prediction for our mall owns a local boutique here in North Canton, Ohio, and has experienced success in the few years her shop has been running. It made me think… do I care so much if the mall closes down? Nah. Maybe a little. For nostalgic reasons, and local economic implications. But what about small businesses like hers? I had been hoping for years that a vintage clothing shop would open locally, and BAM, now we actually have some really great ones! But here I am scouring Etsy and British retailers (ahem, ASOS) instead of heading in to support my neighbors— and heck, getting out of this house once in a while!

Colette's Vintage, Canton, Ohio

Colette's Vintage, Canton, Ohio
Colette's Vintage, Canton, Ohio

Colette's Vintage, Canton, Ohio

Part of the reason I neglect shopping outside of the home is because of the cold, blistery winters in Ohio. I’d much rather snuggle up with a blanket, a hot cup of coffee, and slowly click through pages of clothing, rather than bundle up myself, and my children, making the trek into the elements with sneezing, coughing children who don’t always listen and behave. Considering the aforementioned struggle, online shopping seems much more appealing, doesn’t it? I can cut right through to the shops stocked with clothes that suit my taste, and use search engines to find specific sizes and styles of vintage. Then I can make wish lists and carefully consider how to allocate every dollar. Sounds pretty ideal? But then I decided to just bite the bullet and get out of the darn house and go shop locally at the shops that would break my heart should they ever close down. And it made me remember. 

I remembered why I love getting out and visiting local shops! For the same reason I loved mall shopping back in the late ’90s. It was a fun experience. A bit of a treasure hunt. A delightful time with friends, considering what discoveries we might take home with us that very moment, with no wait for the postal delivery person. And knowing that dollar goes towards the friendly faces of the local shop owner, the local shopgirl, and the local coffee shop, where those shop girls might go on their break. It just all feels right. Almost like a good deed. And any time I can turn a shopping experience into a good deed, it makes it, dare I say, a fulfilling experience! More than just a consumeristic transaction.

So what about you guys? Do you have any local shops you haven’t been to in a while, or maybe haven’t been to at all? If you have been planning to buy something new, I encourage you to get out of the house and see what you can find somewhere local, rather than resorting to the convenience of online shopping. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a deal!

Colette's Vintage, Canton, Ohio

Evenflo Sibby Stroller

This post (and my shopping experience!) was made possible by Evenflo, who let us try out their new Sibby travel system. I have been wishing for a stroller in a nice, classic design. Like a little black dress, only… a stroller. We love the classic design of the Sibby stroller, and Lucy really gets a kick out of riding along on the back. It’s more compact that a double stroller, which makes it perfect for taking on our shopping excursions. Thanks, Evenflo! (All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.)

Also, thanks to Colette’s Vintage— the best vintage shop in the Canton/Akron area— for staying open late and being so gracious with my children. We found some treasures that I love, and to my surprise, Lucy loves as well! She asked to try everyone on as soon as we got home, and then asked if she could wear her new dress to bed. Follow Colette’s on Instagram and Facebook to peep their latest oldie goodies!

Evenflo Sibby Stroller

PHOTOS BY EASTERDAY CREATIVE

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