Advantages of a Vintage Lifestyle

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*My YouTube video on this topic can be found here.

You can live a vintage lifestyle 24/7 or pick and choose elements from a specific time era or era’s. I personally consider myself a subdued Neo Victorian. “Neo-Victorian is an aesthetic movement which amalgamates Victorian and Edwardian aesthetic sensibilities with modern principles and technologies” (-Wikipedia) Essentially it is about a creative lifestyle as we have the power to design our lives! It pays to be aware of historical customs, fashions and technology as we may find value in it’s rediscovery for ourselves.


Sears, Roebuck and Co. Catalog-1897

2017-08-01 Sears, Roebuck and Co.-1887

Join me as I leaf through the pages of a vintage Sears catalog replica. In this YouTube video I take a look at refrigerators, tea kettles, bikes, silverware and more from this Victorian era groundbreaking catalog. This book is filled with vintage lifestyle inspiration!


Review Your Summer Bucket List

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Here in America, Labor Day will soon be upon us, September 4th. This marks the book end of Summer. This holiday and Memorial Day nearly tie in 2nd place for the most popular outdoor grilling day of the summer, following behind 4th of July. Labor Day is the Summers grand finale. This also serves as a reminder to savor summer and review our Summer Bucket List.

One of the keys to simplicity is to enjoy the moments of life. Embracing the seasonal changes of climate, foods, and activities. We do this by eliminating non-essential activities, focusing on that which matters most. If you hold a full-time job and have to manage household duties as well, this becomes of paramount importance!
“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumbnail.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Viewing summer bucket lists on Pinterest and creating a little one for yourself will help you to gain mindfulness. If you live in a climate that is hot year-round, look to the seasonal special occasion days to mark a change.

Here were my top 10 Summer bucket list items. You may wish to give some of them a try for the season’s last hurrah.

*Go on a road trip. America is known for road-trips. Our land is expansive and driving out on the open road is far more affordable than taking a plane, train or bus. This year our family went to the lake town of South Haven, Michigan. I also took the opportunity to photograph a local historic graveyard!

*BBQ. You don’t have to grill outdoors to enjoy BBQ. There’s a feeling of camaraderie with your fellow neighbors when you cook outside on the nations major holidays. If you don’t care for meat you can always grill veggies.

*Paint a sunrise. You don’t need to have any special skills for this. Simply pickup a basic child’s watercolor kit then pull up inspiring photo’s online. You can make an impressionistic gradient, allow to dry then use it later as a piece of stationery! I’ve done this for a few homemade stationary pieces.

*Cook a campfire style meal in tin foil. There are countless ways to prepare campfire roasted “inspired” meals.

*Evening bike-ride. There is nothing like the feel of warm and cool air intermingling as you coast on a bike.

*Enjoy a picnic in the park. I try to take the kids out for this at least once per month during the summer. This year I have made it a goal to search for unique picnic spots around our town of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Followed by fun at a nearby playground.

*Walk outside after dusk to view the fireflies. If you have no firefly’s in your area go for a brisk walk on a summers evening. You may even try carrying an old-fashioned lantern.

*Have a meal on the front porch. There is something charming about eating outdoors on your front porch with the fresh open air. If you have kids they may find it extra fun.

*Plant fresh herbs in the backyard. I usually buy pre-grown herbs then re-pot them in our backyard for easy access. Freshly torn sage and rosemary taste wonderful in my breakfast. This month I’ve been making myself crispy yellow corn tortillas cooked with coconut oil. They are then topped with toasted buttery spinach, garlic, cheddar, and herbs.

*Make a tropical smoothie. I buy dozens of bananas which I then freeze after they are ripened. Add frozen blueberries, mangos or strawberries along with coconut cream & honey. Give yourself a spa getaway at home!

The more we can change our rituals during the season’s changes, the more unique memories we can create. May you savor the rest of summer!

Make Memories as a Family by Working Together

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*You can view the family project video, Trimming Branches here.

In today’s modern culture it seems that most families spend time together by going to a restaurant, attending a sports event or shopping. Yet why not rethink this routine? What about a family project?

A few weeks ago my husband and children had a great time trimming overgrown branches in our backyard. Our daughter Winter took time to ride her bike in the summer air and our young son Orion created a little pool of mud throughout the activity.  The kids learned about basic lawn management while enjoying the day with their parents. Of course we got a fantastic workout and a new clear view through our windows.

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*Working with my Dad Jimmy Hotz, 1989 through the 1990s.

Working together in a family business could also yield wonderful memories while teaching the children valuable job skills. One of the greatest memories of my lifetime was working side by side with my Dad, Jimmy Hotz (inventor, musician, producer). Starting at the age of 14, I began an internship in the home studio. There I learned the basics of clerical, administrative, graphic design, music and technology skills which have been foundational in all of my work.

I continued professionally with his company for many years. We also did family projects working together organizing the garage, with Mom Nancy Hotz and siblings. It was a lot of work, yet remains a nice memory for me. I love you Mom and Dad!

Keep a Journal for Posterity

2017-07-18b Keep a Journal

In this weeks YouTube video topic I cover why we should journal for posterity. I also discuss why:

*Historically journals have been used as essential pieces of literature.
*The most simple record of ones day, may be highly valuable to those in the future.
*Lists and schedules make great journal entries.
*We should make a printed copy of your digital journal as formats change over time!

Log “A Day in the Life” To Pass Down to Loved Ones

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Article and photo by Rain San Martin

Historical events have made their mark on timelines. Yet nothing paints a true picture as our daily recorded activities.

You can base your day in the life entry by using your existing routines or schedule as an outline. The key difference is you are adding more details that uniquely occurred on that day.    It need not be an exhaustive account of your day. Include only key highlights.

Not only will your family appreciate the memory of how you lived, your record may be used as a historical reference. Then perhaps one day your story may be shared, as in the blog post: A Real 1950’s Daily Cleaning Routine.

How to Log Your Day

Have a good quality journal available. Though you could write a digital version of your day there is a slim chance it will survive for posterity purposes, it may not last unless it is printed and bound. Digital formats change with time. One alternative is to write your day in the life journal entry in digital format with an action plan for presenting the text in a printable format.  Start with the time of day you woke up. It’s similar to a morning routine yet will contain more informative details of the day. I will show you an example of the difference between the two:

Typical morning routine:

  • Wake 5 am.
  • Brush teeth, weight, dress.
  • Brew coffee (read articles for 20 minutes) Scrub one item in the bathroom, straighten.
  • Write blog for 20 minutes.
  • Exercise for 20 minutes. Make breakfast.

An example of a morning routine written in the “A Day in the Life” style.

  • Wake at 5 am to the sound of springtime birds. Put on black and white jagged skirts, stripped matching tights, and pirate-ship cameo necklace from Etsy.
  • Brew a strong cup of Sumatra from Fresh Thyme. Light candles on the mantle.  Relax for 20minutes while reading technology and industry news (via the Apple iPad Mini) on Forbes, Fortune, and The Verge.
  • Write blog post for 20 minutes using WordPress. Set timer.
  • Lift weights for 20 minutes as I watch a YouTube documentary series about Dead Malls by Dan Bell, as we are currently in the Retail Apocalypse!
  • Make breakfast to be ready by 9 am.

You can also include a recipe you routinely use.

Here’s my healthy and flavor-packed recipe for Corn Tortillas with Spinach,  Mushrooms, Garlic, and Bacon. And yes, this includes plenty of real natural fat, just as they used in the pioneer days! Serves one. Multiply ingredients by each guest for more servings.


  • 1 cup of frozen spinach
  • 1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 slices of bacon (and reserved bacon grease for extra flavor)
  • 4 yellow corn tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

On a cast iron skillet cook 2 strips of bacon. Set aside when done and pour bacon grease over spinach in baking pan.

Lay out 4 sliced yellow corn tortillas on a cooking tray. Drizzle with canola oil and a touch of butter. Assemble the frozen spinach and mushrooms with olive oil and butter in a separate cooking dish. Cook both trays for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Add chopped fresh garlic to the veggie mix for the remaining 3 minutes.  Top the crisp tortillas with veggie mixture and bacon. Enjoy a healthful hardy breakfast, bursting with flavor.

Publish your journal entries for posterity!

You may even turn your writings into a book such as Henry David Thoreau did in with Walden.  The masterwork, which was published in 1854 logged his account of simple living out in the open woods. Noting the folly and trappings of mindless purchasing, his philosophy resonates with the people of today’s minimalist and simplicity movement.

Now go and log your day in the life!