living on less

We’ve made some major changes in our lives over the past few months.  For starters, we got hitched in May.  You already knew that unless you’re just tuning in for the first time.  And if you are, welcome!


What happened next surprised us though.  A good surprise in retrospect but the type of surprise we weren’t totally prepared for.  It knocked the wind out of us at first actually.  We picked up suddenly and moved to Cape May, NJ.  Permanently. We quickly consolidated two houses into one small beach bungalow.  You could call it the great downsize of 2013.  We sold tons of furniture, donated pounds of clothes and narrowed down our favorite housewares.

milk paint table makeover & ship captain lamp

We made the decision to move in June after being faced with some tough issues primarily related to Ryan’s MS which he was diagnosed with last year.  I’ll save all of the gritty details for my future best-selling memoir.  Ultimately we decided what is most important to us is living a simple healthy life together in a place we love.  We made the quick decision to eliminate unnecessary noise and chaos and to leave the grind behind.  Why wait the previously planned 15-20 years to move to our beloved Cape May?  We packed up truckload after truckload and settled into our beach bungalow turned forever home in August.  Now we live somewhere between the woods of Cape May and the sandy shore of the Delaware Bay.  It is quiet, restful and simple.


We’ve taken on a motto of living on less which is a bit of a change from my previous fill-every-closet-in-the-house lifestyle.  Who am I kidding?  Once a hoarder, always a hoarder but I have been making smarter decisions about what I actually need and what collected anecdotes make me happy.  We only have two closets in the entire house and one dresser each so excess clothing was the first to go.  It is kind of refreshing to have such limitations in a way.

vintage ship captain collection

But living on less doesn’t mean bare rooms and no fun. Trust me.  There will be lots of room makeovers now that we’re settled into our new permanent address.  Well, four room makeovers if I have my way.  Several are already in progress.  We have just four rooms in our 1000 square foot home and two bathrooms plus loads of outdoor space.  Doesn’t it sound freeing to only have to maintain four rooms?  All two and a half of us really do not need more space than that.


Don’t get me wrong, we are not living in total seclusion here.  I still love the action that the city has to offer.  We make frequent trips “up north” but are thrilled to come home to our peaceful, collected abode by the sea.


And being that I built a business based on beautiful things, the hunting and gathering will continue.  Joyfully!  I’ll continue to sell vintage and repurposed wares at The West End Garage in Cape May.  Let’s call that our flagship store, shall we?  Plus on our frequent trips to Philly, we’ll pop up at our favorite Clover Market.  And of course, I’ll continue to be a driving force with milk paint at Serendipity Shops in Doylestown plus it is available for sale online.  In fact, I have another demo coming up on November 17th at 1pm.

That’s our big news!  Coming to you from Cape May, NJ.  When the world gives you lemons, take them to the beach…

31 thoughts on “living on less

  1. WHA, WHA, WHAT!?!? YOU MOVED TO CAPE MAY!!! My favorite place in the entire world!!
    I didn’t know but I’m so excited to see you at West End when we visit.
    The last time I was there I gave an impromptu lesson on painting furniture, what the different types of paint are and how to use them, etc. (actually I was just shopping and was helping out another “shopper” who had no idea what chalk and milk paint were). Love that place.
    Good luck in your new journey. I’m already loving your photos, especially Higbee Beach.
    Can’t wait to watch your life in Cape May as it unfolds.

      1. I will. We usually come for two weeks over the 4th of July. We stay in a little cottage across from the vineyard on Stevens Stree in West Cape May. Love everything about Cape May…it’s like being in Bucks County but at the beach!!

  2. Hi! This is completely out of left field I know, but I didn’t know your husband has MS. I have some info about a study that was done for the treatment and research in Multiple Sclerosis. It was done in Amsterdam in 2011 and not many people know about it. But it compares some recent meds (one is an all natural supplement) and whether they are good therapeutic strategies to treat MS. The natural supplement comes out on top over the $5,000 per month pharmaceutical. The supplement is VERY interesting and VERY affordable. It might be something that you should look at. I can email the study to you if you’d like. I don’t want you thinking I’m some weirdo.

  3. Though for different reasons, this is a subject near and dear to my heart. Thing simple living, think sustainability…all good for you and for the earth! Congratulations on making such a healthy decision that many of us don’t get to until we are ready to retire. And the best thing of all, less house to clean!! Small House / Big Sky Donna

  4. Congratulations to you Dana – a beautiful life, a beautiful relationship, a beautiful place to call home. Simple and with your focus on all of the MOST important things. Here’s to many happy years ahead for you both with the restful, renewing spirit that only the sand and waves can bring.

  5. I’m so happy for you! Many people (including me!) could probably enrich their lives by simplifying. Best of luck to you and Ryan!

  6. I was waiting for this post since you told me the news the last time I saw you at West End Garage. We are on the 3 year countdown to our downsizing and retiring permanently to the Villas from Lansdale. Would love to make it sooner. Wishing you and your husband the best in your new home. See you at “the Garage”.

  7. You have figured out in a short time what it takes others a lifetime to realize – “Ultimately we decided what is most important to us is living a simple healthy life together in a place we love.”
    Love you both.

  8. You two are inspiring! Thanks for the encouragement that we don’t need a lot of things to enjoy life. I haven’t been to the blog in a while, but I love the current layout and the photos are beautiful.

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