The theme of this weekend was all things tiny, and I can’t stress this enough: I love tiny things.
We took off on Friday morning for a 24-hour micro vacation just a short distance from our home in Washington, DC. We packed the essentials – clothes, beer, and some extra towels because we weren’t totally clear what the amenities would be like based on the vague description in the Airbnb listing. When we arrived at the tiny house, we found it surprisingly complete. In 109 sq. feet the owners had somehow managed to arrange a comfortable living area – with seating for four, some storage, and a bookshelf – a kitchen, a bathroom with a shower and a toilet (is it considered a full bath if there’s no sink? A 3/4 bath, perhaps?), a romantic looking “rocket stove” for heating, and a precarious-to-access but otherwise cozy sleeping loft. I fell in love.
We ended up on this impromptu trip because we were burnt out and just needed to get as far away from the city as our little Honda Fit could take us with $200 and one night of my in-laws generously offering their dog-sitting services. My summary of the weekend is this: tiny living might not be for everyone, but I definitely think it’s for me.
What We Did/What I Wore
We drove out to West Virginia on Friday morning and headed straight for Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park. I want to tell you that we chose Harper’s Ferry because we were looking to immerse ourselves in Civil War history and take in the views of the mighty Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meeting at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but in reality, it was just the first place we found at the intersection of cheap and close by. We opted to spend our first day hiking a steep, 3-mile trail that led to an incredible overlook above the two rivers. There were some teenagers smoking weed on the good rock when we got there, but we were pretty satisfied with spending a few minutes on the next best rock, appreciating the view and taking some selfies for my parents. See below for my crummy picture of what was actually a pretty breathtaking experience:
Regarding my outfit – I wanted to wear clothes that would be comfortable for hiking, but that weren’t just straight-up gym clothes. Once upon a time I was a geology student, and I fell in love with field attire that blended more seamlessly into nature – looser silhouettes, natural fabrics, and a look that was as practical and protective as it was reflective of my personality. Normally I would never hike in shorts because of insects and unfriendly plants, but there aren’t too many insects out this early in the season, and I expected the trails at Harper’s Ferry to be wide and clear of brush given how popular they are. The outfit I chose hit the mark for me in terms of comfort and style, but I do wish I had a better pair of hiking boots because I almost rolled an ankle a few times on our descent.
- White cotton button down (old, Loft)
- Black New Balance tank (New Balance)
- Black Japanese GoWeave shorts (Everlane – no longer available but I bet they’ll bring back a similar style this season)
- Nike running sneakers (old, Nike)
- Baseball cap (old, Smith College Department of Geosciences)
After our hike, we checked into the tiny house, had an adventure trying to figure out the shower/water heater situation, and got ready for a casual dinner out. We ate at a really cool cafe in downtown Brunswick called Beans in the Belfry. The restaurant took over a space that used to be a church, and they kept the stained glass windows and the balcony for the organ. The vibe was very hip – but in the kind of way that you knew it was a place for a community of eccentric locals instead of a manufactured experience for millennials to post on Instagram. I’m pretty sure I ordered my sandwich at a counter that used to be an alter.
I wanted to wear something that felt casual but polished and that didn’t require any fussy styling. My “going out” uniform typically consists of black skinny jeans and a nicer tank top, so I went with what I knew and was pleased with the results.
- Striped silk shell (Everlane)
- Black skinny jeans (Everlane)
- Leather mules (Nisolo)
- Gold circle necklace (GLDN)
On Saturday morning we woke up to sunshine and bird songs. We shared coffee on the tiny house front steps while we talked about minimal living and tried to identify all the birds and plants we could hear and see. I highly recommend this kind of slow, unplugged morning with your spouse on vacation – it was healing, to say the least.
After coffee, it was time to pack up what little we had brought with us, check out, and head back to the park for brunch and some sightseeing of the old historic town. The town of Harper’s Ferry is actually all located within the park limits, so the majority of the restaurants there are geared towards tourists. Vegetarians, you know what that means: usually only one thing on any given menu that you can actually eat. We ended up with black bean burgers instead of actual brunch food, but to the credit of the little tourist cafe, the burgers were surprisingly tasty and they fueled us up for an afternoon of sightseeing.
Saturday’s outfit was not particularly well thought out, if I’m being honest. I basically just grabbed what was clean and hoped for the best. It was only when I started to get dressed in the morning that I considered the fact that a boxy t-shirt over an A-line skirt might not be the most flattering silhouette. Lucky for me, there was no full-length mirror in the tiny house. I might never know if I looked like a toad or not, but at least the outfit worked when laying flat on my coffee table!
- Stripe boxy t-shirt (old, H&M)
- Flax linen skirt (old, Loft)
- Pink TOMS (TOMS)
Other Stuff I Packed
It’s true that I am an idiot for packing both linen AND silk items for a weekend trip to the wilderness. Linen and silk are fussy fabrics that wrinkle easily, but they are also cool against the skin on a hot day and have a more flattering drape on my body than other fabrics. To combat the fussiness of my favorite clothes, I packed my mini-steamer so that I could quickly steam out any wrinkles that the clothes sustained while stuffed into my travel tote. Worked like a charm, and the steamer really doesn’t take up much space or weight in my travel tote.
Regarding personal care, I brought just a few essentials with me so that I could dress up my face for dinner and cover up my dark under eyes and pimples/scars during the day. My main criteria for the makeup I chose was that it had to have a very natural appearance, I needed to be able to apply it with my fingers (so that I wouldn’t have to pack brushes or tools), and it had to wash off completely with just regular Cetaphil facial cleanser.
- Glossier Stretch Concealer in Light
- Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk and Beam (I wear Dusk on my eyelids in addition to my cheeks)
- Glossier Boy Brow in Brown
- Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara
- NYX Microbrow Pencil in Ash Brown (mostly for the spoolie)
- Clinique Almost Lipstick in Pink Honey
The Tiny House & Tiny Lifestyle Thoughts
Now, what you’ve all been waiting for: some photos of the tiny house!
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I love tiny things, and the tiny house was no exception. I’ve often thought about what it will be like when Mr. Goblin Shark graduates from school and we move out of my in-laws’ 4th floor suite and into our own house. I actually feel anxiety when I think about how little we own, and how it isn’t going to be enough to fill up our house and make it feel like a home. I imagine empty rooms and big credit card bills for all the furniture and decor we’ll need to buy right away.
But we don’t really need any of that, do we?
We’ve always imagined ourselves settling down on a big plot of land one day, growing our own vegetables, keeping chickens and maybe some rescued farm animals, with enough space for our coonhound to run and play and for our future children to explore and appreciate nature. I think these things are still possible (and maybe even more possible) with a small house. I don’t want to be bogged down with the demands of a McMansion. The tiny house managed to contain everything one might need to live a complete life, and while I don’t think 109 sq feet will be quite enough for our family, I am considering that we probably don’t need very much stuff or space to be happy, and that less stuff and less house to care for can help us to better connect with nature and with each other.
I do have a lot more thoughts on tiny living and how starting my capsule wardrobe was, for me, a gateway to minimalism that I didn’t know I needed, but I’ll leave you with just these 1500 words to mull over for now.
What do you think about tiny living? Does a small, minimalist space appeal to you? I’m interested to know your thoughts, especially if you’re part of a family unit trying to make the minimalist lifestyle thing happen with kids or in a multi-generational household. Take to the comments and let me know your opinion!
As always, you can keep up with my daily thoughts and outfits on Instagram at @goblinshark_ .
Thanks for reading!